Dubai may be known for its amazing and extreme architecture along with its luxury lifestyle but it’s also home to the only women’s museum in the entire Arabic region. Formally known as the Women’s Museum at Bait al Banat, the Dubai Women’s Museum presents not only the histories of important women from the UAE but also tells the story of the Emirati culture through the achievements of woman.
The Middle Eastern emirate of Dubai is one of seven emirates that make up the country of the United Arab Emirates (the UAE). The country, its founding and development has been heavily influenced, aided and sometimes led by women. The history, especially that leading up to the country’s founding in 1971, follows thousands of years of individual history and development of the seven emirates that make up the country.
The Dubai Women’s Museum
Aside from showcasing important women from the history of the UAE, the museum helps visitors discover Emirati society through the lives of women. The museum plays hosts to many schoolchilden and educates youngsters on the achievements of past female generations and provides role models.
The are several galleries of permanent displays along with other rooms which highlight changing exhibitions. There’s also a visually and spiritally moving gallery dedicated to the female Arabic poet Ousha Bint Khalifa, known as the “Girl of the Arabs.” The entire gallery is covered with verses from her work, written in Arabic and mounted on the curving walls.
The museum has a special area dedicated to children along with a women’s studies center for ongoing education and other research projects. There’s even a small cafe and a gift shop with a focus on perfume and frangrances. Perfume made from local spices and resins has always played an important role in Emirati culture.
Professor Rafia Obaid Ghubash grew up in the Dubai Creek area and inspired by her mother, always had a dream to establish a museum dedicated to the achievements of Emirati women. After a career in medicine and medical education, she finally realized her goal when the museum was opened in 2012.
The museum is in the historic section of Dubai called Deira. It’s right next to the famous gold souk street. The entire Deira area (located near the Dubai Creek) is a dense collection of souks (shops / stalls) selling all kinds of products. It’s a wonderful area to wander through and is one of the few remaining remnants of Dubai’s history as a trading port. It’s also home to the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding, another destination worth a visit in the area.