UAE Female Falconers: Breaking Stereotypes

Falconry, which has historically been a male-dominated pastime among Arabs in the Middle East, is now experiencing a boom in female interest in the sport, similar to how the camel, the Saluki, and automobile racing have evolved in line with social ch... Read More

Vidhyaa Chandramohan

UAE Female Falconers: Breaking Stereotypes

Falconry, which has historically been a male-dominated pastime among Arabs in the Middle East, is now experiencing a boom in female interest in the sport, similar to how the camel, the Saluki, and automobile racing have evolved in line with social changes. Though falconry has existed throughout history, it is especially important in the culture of the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East, where nomads have long used falcons to hunt for food, and where falconry is now popular in the UAE as a heritage sport that was inducted into UNESCO's List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2016.

Women find it difficult to hunt in the desert since falconry is a physically demanding hobby. Furthermore, the rough landscape of the desert made it difficult for women to engage in falcon hunting excursions in ancient times. That is why, for centuries, males have dominated this profession, despite the fact that women indirectly assist men in falconry, which subtly excludes women.

When Ayesha Al Mansoori, the UAE's first female falconer, became interested in falconry, she proved her male counterparts wrong. She has been a trailblazer in teaching Emirati women and girls about falconry and ensuring that the sport and tradition are handed down to future generations. She expressed a desire to demonstrate that women from the UAE are capable of smashing preconceptions and pursuing careers as professional falconers. She was named head trainer of the women's division of the Abu Dhabi Falconers Club, a government-owned organization dedicated to the development of falconry in the United Arab Emirates, in 2011. Despite the many challenges she has experienced since beginning her falconry training, her passion for the sport has given her perseverance, allowing her to overcome her critics and persevere.

Throughout history, falconry was transferred from generation to generation, from fathers to sons, but now this is slowly changing in the UAE. The transfer of skills has altered from mother to daughter. Her daughter, Osha Khalifa Al Mansoori, follows in her mother's footsteps. She gives stunning performances at a variety of festivals and exhibitions.

Vidhyaa Chandramohan