UAE development planners have included women in their designs since the formation of the union in 1971. However, had it not been for the strong support of some very key local figures, the progress made to date, through giving women special attention at the early stages of development, might not have occurred for a very long time. In all societies, no matter what the efforts of local people, without the required government assistance in such areas as education, social welfare and health, basic needs cannot be met. In the UAE, the official goal is to meet women's needs as soon as possible.