Seven in 10 respondents are enrolled STEM-related courses Reuters

Women in the United Arab Emirates are overtaking their male counterparts in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) related careers.

According to a report from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which was commissioned by the Abu Dhabi-based Advanced Technology Investment Company, Emirati women have reversed a gender gap in education and are now outperforming men.

The research, which questioned 394 UAE-based female students, revealed that seven in 10 (70%) respondents are enrolled Stem-related courses.

"Women in the UAE have made significant progress over the last 20 years, to a point now where they make up 71% of graduates of government universities," said Aviva Freudmann, the editor of the report.

"By global standards, there is some way to go, but progress has been swift and the state's backing is proving a powerful catalyst."

The survey also found that the majority of respondents are in engineering (50%) at undergraduate level.

Most respondents (82%) were between the ages of 18 and 24, but almost 13% have work experience in a science, technology and engineering environment.

The findings come after research from consultant Booz Allen estimates that, if the UAE follows the pattern of Greece, Ireland and Spain (where female participation in Stem careers grew by 15-20% over three decades), this could lead to an increase in productivity and consumption that would boost GDP by 12%.

But UAE's labour market still faces some serious problems.

According to Human Rights Watch, the country has made no reforms to a system that "facilitates the forced labour of migrant workers".

In addition, the organisation argues that the UAE's plans of better conditions for female domestic workers fall short of the standards outlined in the convention on domestic workers that the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted in 2012.