22.5 C
Doha
Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Family expert: Qatar should form special body to ensure women’s rights

-

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Asserting that it’s time that women’s rights and demands be made a priority in Qatar, a leading local family expert has called on the government to form a national committee to represent the female population.

Noor Al Malki Al Jehani, the executive director of the Doha International Family Institute, said the committee should have a budget, human resources and cooperate with the country’s ministries to improve the status of women’s rights in Qatar and solve any problems they might face.

She made the remarks this week at the official launch of the fourth Human Development report in Qatar.

Al Jehani’s call falls in line with the report, which also recommended establishing a “central government body” for women as part of Qatar’s agreement to join the UN convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.

The Supreme Council of Family Affairs used to handle women’s issues before it was dissolved last year as part of organizational changes to the government. Its responsibilities were then taken on by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

Challenges

Al Jehani said that while Qatar has taken steps toward achieving gender equality, it still falls short in many areas.

Last year, Qatar retained its spot at the most advanced nation in the region, ranking 31st out of nearly 200 countries in the United Nation’s 2014 Human Development Report (HDR).

But in a separate gender inequality index published in the UN report, Qatar ranked fairly low – 113th out of 187 nations.

2015 CMC Elections
2015 CMC Elections

According to Al Jehani, this was due to several reasons, including a lack of female managers in companies here. She also pointed out a lack of parliamentary representation.

Women hold only two of the 29 seats on the Central Municipal Council. There is also no female representation on Qatar’s Advisory (Shura) Council.

To put that in perspective, Saudi Arabia has 20 percent representation and in the UAE, women held 18 percent of the seats, according to the report released this week.

Al Jehani cited social and cultural pressures and norms as hindering women’s progress, adding that females themselves may prefer not to handle a managerial or political position, due to their domestic responsibilities.

Meanwhile, although Qatari women excel in their university studies, they appear to be enrolling in specific fields and steer away from “IT, scientific studies and law,” due to pressure from family and society to stick to certain professions, Al Jehani said.

Family matters

She added that around 10 percent of Qatari families live under the poverty line, and most of these families are provided for by women.

“If a (Qatari) woman gets divorced or widowed, her chances of getting re-married are very limited,” she explained, adding that nearly half of the country’s local female population is unemployed, which would make it difficult for this segment to provide for themselves.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Another issue discussed this week at the conference involved nationality laws.

From 2000-2013, the number of Qatari women who married non-Qataris more than doubled, from 116 to 276, the human development report stated.

But these women cannot pass their citizenship to their children, though Qatari men married to foreigners are allowed to do so.

Last year, Qatar officials told the UN it does not have any plans to grant full citizenship to the children of Qatari mothers and non-Qatari fathers.

Meanwhile, the debate about how the country’s citizenship laws affect the self-identity of so-called “half-Qataris” continues.

During a Twitter campaign on the subject last June, Amal Al-Malki – a university professor born to a Qatari father and a Lebanese mother told Doha News:

“Modernity has brought in an influx of foreigners to the country, making us a minority in our own land. We have developed an anxiety from non-Qataris unfortunately, and we tend to preserve our culture through making it hard for outsiders to ‘invade’ it. We speak of purity of lineage and cultural cohesion as if we live in an island of our own.”

Al Jahani also touched on issues like domestic violence against women and children, in addition to obesity in children.

Elderly expats

The report also called for an amending of the law to allow elderly non-Qataris who have worked to help develop the country for many years to be able to permanently stay here, and be granted pension, health care and social benefits.

Currently, when expats reach retirement age, they must either leave the country or transfer their residency to one of their children, if they work in Qatar.

“The elderly have participated a great deal in the development (of the country), but for the mostly part, that has not been appreciated,” the report stated.

The elderly represented 2 percent of Qatar’s population and mostly consisted of non-Qataris in 2010. However, the report speculates that the numbers have increased by now.

Thoughts?

57 COMMENTS

Subscribe
Notify of
57 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rane de Beer
Rane de Beer
5 years ago

DN, not sure if you got info from Al Jehani, but two of the 29 members on CMC are women, meaning more than 7% female representation, not less than 1%. Still pretty bad, though. http://www.thenational.ae/world/middle-east/two-women-voted-onto-qatari-advisory-council-for-the-first-time

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  Rane de Beer

You are right! Thanks for this – will fix now.

Rane de Beer
Rane de Beer
5 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

now it’s 2 out of 19! it’s 29. lol

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  Rane de Beer

Oy! I need more sleep 🙂

Smile
Smile
5 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

lol. dont worry Shabina, Ramadan is around the corner…less work time…more time to sleep.

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  Rane de Beer

I’ll donate a calculater

Bornrich
Bornrich
5 years ago

Why is the musician in the picture cordoned off like that? Is he a VIP – a Very Important Pianist?

sadam
sadam
5 years ago
Reply to  Bornrich

nope.. it’s a Very Ixpinsive Piano

Michkey
Michkey
5 years ago
Reply to  Bornrich

Ashghal!

Huzz
Huzz
5 years ago

To quote Al Baker on QR Cabin Crew “they have all the rights they require”

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

All jokes aside, I read that article twice and could find no reference to how gender inequality for Qatari women (which exists) can be attributed to a lack of ‘rights’.

Reasons cited in the article are:

“Lack of female managers in companies”
“Lack of parliamentary representation”
“Social and cultural pressures and norms”
“Females themselves may prefer not to handle a managerial or political position, due to their domestic responsibilities.”
“Pressure from family and society to stick to certain professions”

So, pray tell, which are the “women’s rights” that are not being protected, because I can’t find reference to them in the article.

AEC
AEC
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Are you not clear on what women’s rights are or are you just wanting them to spell it out and connect the two?

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  AEC

Indulge me – which rights do women not have in Qatar that only men have?

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

For example, they cannot give Qatari citizenship to their children like men can.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago

Point taken, but these Qatari women are still Qatari women. How does their inability to pass on nationality contribute to lower wages, lack of representation on elected bodies, absence from senior management positions etc?

Bornrich
Bornrich
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

I think women in Qatar have most of the rights men do, don’t they? They can drive, enroll in education, pursue their own career path, they are not restricted from public areas etc.. The issue then is surely discrimination resulting from a number of issues, some of which may be cultural. Discrimination in the western world is closely associated with segregation of different groups, and yet this cannot be the definition in a culture where segregation (of the sexes) is a requirement. And yet segregation, it could be argued, can lead to a perceived imbalance to opportunities, which could in itself lead to the perception of discrimination where none exists.

Jon
Jon
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

From what I understand legally women do not have the freedom to travel without a male family members signature until the age of 25 for unmarried women while it is not clear if married women face difficulty traveling without permission. Moreover, owning your own home is typically reserved for men making it difficult for qatari women to buy or even rent – they cannot even book a hotel room without a signature.

qatari
qatari
5 years ago
Reply to  Jon

are you talking about QATAR, are you sure about those statements ??

Sheikha
Sheikha
5 years ago
Reply to  qatari

I had to have permission from my father to travel until I was 25, then you can travel without any restrictions no matter. My sisters still require his permission to travel, you do not have to have a signature document, my father was able to issue the exit permission online…but yes, you do need permission until a certain age. I am not sure how it is with owning a home as I have never tried.
When I was younger I was not able to book a hotel room without my guardian’s permission but I think after a certain age you are allowed to.

Scarletti
Scarletti
5 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

that guy is not worthy of any post or governance with that attitude !

Doodz
Doodz
5 years ago

Domestic violence, verbal abuse and emotional abuse.. Women in this country can stand to all of these no more SELF PITY PLEASE!!!! And don’t indulge too much food wether your depressed or too happy, so that you won’t get obese… Take care of yourself be happy and be sexy…. PEACE

Timtam
Timtam
5 years ago
Reply to  Doodz

I don’t think you quite understand the effects of domestic violence and abuse has on individuals…

Doodz
Doodz
5 years ago
Reply to  Timtam

FYI TIMTAM! I’m a WOMAN!!!! How can you tell that I don’t fully understood the effects of violence? Regardless if its domestic or whatsoever, women in this country can make a stand on this kind of violence. Don’t stay in the corner and cry, fight back and it’s individual rights to protect herself from the abuser!!!!

Timtam
Timtam
5 years ago
Reply to  Doodz

Not sure if this is a troll or not, but domestic abuse and abuse in general does leave an effect on those who are victims/survivors of it. People don’t simply get up and brush abuse off as if they tripped – partners abused by their SO in the presence of their children raise the risk of causing trauma for the child. Additionally, some victims can become abusers themselves – some times even worse than their own past abuser(s). Acknowledging that domestic violence is bad and being sympathetic towards the struggles of the victims does not equate self-pity. To make a stand against domestic violence means to acknowledge that such violence does influence lives, which is something you’re brushing off.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

To live in a gilded cage, is still a cage.

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago

I believe she is confused on what women rights are and what discrimination is… Women not wanting to be engineers has nothing to do with women rights… And half the women population is unemployed .. They are not seeking employment … Unemployed means they are seeking jobs but are not able to find them.. Deciding to stay home and watch over the kids or whatever does not mean they are unemployed …

Women rights in Qatar are unequal in a few things.. Passing down the Qatari citizenship to their children if they marry a non Qatari.. Not being able to buy a drink in a bar or enter a club like their male counter parts… As far as I know they have equal rights in everything else… Please correct me if I’m wrong…

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

I think the major one is citizenship and there is no defence for that. The kids are expected to be brought up Qatari but are considerd something else

Blue
Blue
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Yesterday we had a very passionate woman President of Qatar University – there are no barricades for a well qualified Qatari woman to excel in the work place, even become the head of the organization….

…..now the ‘poor’ Qatari fellas have to shell out a pretty penny as dowry to marry ’em Qatari lasses…….let’s be equal there too…

zoeval
zoeval
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

What about the right to wear what they want wherever they want without risking social censure?

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  zoeval

What law says women are suppose to wear in a certain way.. Don’t confuse law with tradition

zoeval
zoeval
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Well, exactly. That’s why I wrote “without risking social censure”. If the tradition is so strong that people are not free to enjoy their rights under the law then it doesn’t say much for either the power of the law or the flexibility of the traditions.

Scarletti
Scarletti
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

what about having to ask your employer’s approval to get married, as at Qatar Airways – where is the equality in that ?

Fully support womens rights, but in reality it is basic and equal rights, regardless of sexual prejudice that is more important

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  Scarletti

I was talking about qataris under Qatari law.. However your right and I don’t know how Akbar gets away with it… But I hear this is now being scrapped out

Joe
Joe
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

You are wrong buddy! She doesn’t get the same employment benefits to start with.
Example: she gets 50% of the housing allowance if she happens to be married to a government employee!
She is not eligible to receive a land plot along with an interest free loan to build it.
Maternity leave is subject to her boss’s mood. It is not instated as part of the law. And if they grant her that “Privilege” it is inadequate.
She is limited to certain jobs, and rarely assigned a supervisory task.

Actually, I am surprised to hear that lady talk about The issue of inequality! She used to manage the so called “Supreme Council of Family Affairs “. They spent government funds on useless Workshops and conferences in luxury hotels without any achievements.

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  Joe

I’m sorry joe but that’s not right. Either couple has an option to elect which one will receive the full housing benefit. If the women is a senior staff at QP and the husband is a junior staff at the post office, they can elect for her to take the full housing allowance and he takes half. It’s one or the other but not both.

Also women over the age of 35 or 40, can’t remember are eligible for free govt housing, so are widowed and divorced women and women married to non qataris but are residing in Qatar… Also courts almost always give the govt house to the wife and children in situation of divorce…

Maternity leave is subject to her boss!! I don’t where you pulled that from, everywhere I worked HR decided under state law how long a women is entitled a maternity leave not her boss’ mood. Where did you experience or here this from ?

As for her being limited to job or tasks that’s more to do with gender discrimination rather than law..

Joe
Joe
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

This is odd! The ministry of planning & statistics (before becoming a ministry) has revealed studies about those issues and warned against the imbalance in the social structure of the population. Their recommendations were to reform the laws and end practices that prevent women from participating in the country’s development while maintaining their social role within their families.

You sound like someone on the payroll of Ministry of Administrative Development whose main function is to defend existing but outdated government practices.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago

“She added that around 10 percent of Qatari families live under the poverty line”
Is this statement correct? How is the poverty line officially determined in Qatar?

Scarletti
Scarletti
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

you havent got Porsche Cayene – ? then you are in poverty

qatari
qatari
5 years ago

How can this be women inequality in jobs , when they have access to it but chose not to go for it ???

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  qatari

There are job categories that are officially closed to women.

qatari
qatari
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

those jobs Qatari women don’t even think about , but engineers / mangers , really , then most of the girls attending QU/EC/ are doing what after ???

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Doesn’t matter if they think about them or not, if they are closed to them, then they are being discriminated against. I’m a little concerned about the mindset that refers to adult university graduates as ‘girls’.

qatari
qatari
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

i can call them what i like , its non of your business, we are talking about jobs here , not my vocabulary , Name those jobs pls & keep your mind on a topic , instead of jumping around in your comments, its hard i know , try to stay with the topic of the discussion .

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Well boy, I fully agree that you can call them what you like, just as others can call Ramadan a punishment. As you say, it is none of our business. 😉 As to your other question, many job categories within the MOI, police, security services, and military are closed to women.

qatari
qatari
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

so according to your nonsense of a reply calling a female a girl is offensive to them , according to which global study is that??? yet in western media /music its the common .check your so called logic when comparing a HATEFUL & RACIST comment to what is the norm in your language . unless hate & racism is the norm from where you are coming !!!!

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Thanks for the comments boy. I would take the time to debate you on the definition of racism, but it seems that you are bit worked up. My language? Don’t you mean our language?

Western media? Hmmm, is that the German videos, perhaps the Norwegian ones, oh, maybe you mean the Italian ones. Though I can’t imagine why they would be using the word girl.

Anyway boy, you have a good day, and if you observe Ramadan you have a good one.

zoeval
zoeval
5 years ago
Reply to  qatari

vocabulary and language are indicative of thought – the words we use are key in reflecting how we think and act so in fact, the language we use in a public forum is the business of other people.

qatari
qatari
5 years ago
Reply to  zoeval

not when the its the 2nd language, where the main thing is to get the idea, did you get it ?

zoeval
zoeval
5 years ago
Reply to  qatari

If it’s an issue of using a second language, then surely the response should be “apologies for my error, this is not my first language” not, “I can call them what I like, it’s none of your business”

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  qatari

If it were a second language error a response would have been “Oh, what an interesting cultural point, I didn’t know that. Thank you” and everyone would have carried on happily. You chose to become defensive and aggressive.

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

What jobs ? All I know if flight attendant And bar tenders are closed for both sexes

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

infantry, artillery, armor, logistics driver, combat medic, inshore fast boat crew person, many of the CID occupations. Why would flight attendant be closed for Qataris? Seems silly and limiting to me.

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

All military jobs which I’m pretty sure are off limits to females in the U.S. And other militaries around the
World… As no military actually puts Females in the line of fire … Btw FYI Qatar CID has a lot of Qatari females

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

The US is a poor example – they are way behind the curve on gender equality. As for ‘around the world’ – you are incorrect – all combat arms have been open to females in Canada, Sweden, etc for decades. The US removed such bans only two or three years ago.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/13/130125-women-combat-world-australia-israel-canada-norway/

As for CID yes, they do, but there are still positions closed to them.

The logic of discriminating against Qataris working as flight attendants still blows my mind and I can’t begin to imagine how it would survive a legal challenge.

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Because being a flight attendant means you will have to serve alcohol and jobs like bar tending and such are not permitted..

As for military roles, I won’t argue it as I don’t know much.. But I’m pretty confident that no country allows women behind energ line or allow them in actual combat during war .. Not 100% certain so you may be right

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Wow, the state’s assumption that all Qataris hold religious beliefs shows a certain disconnect from reality it seems to me.

On to more practical issues, I had understood that consumption of alcohol and other intoxicants was considered a no no, but not the handling of the same? I ask as when I lived in Malaysia the staff selling pork and booze were uniformly Muslim and I was led to believe that handling was no problem, just consumption. Is this an example of different flavors of Islam, or is it a Qatari law with little basis in theology? I have to say that my first experience with Islam was Malaysia and then I came to the GCC and the differences between the understanding in the two regions was quite a shock.

This has been a practical issue in Qatar. You invite acquaintances and co-workers around and my rule has been to mark dishes containing pork clearly and mark the punch containing booze clearly. If someone wishes to imbibe that is their choice, it is not for me to decide.

A very large fight ensued once when some folks from Kuwait took offense that there was even booze and pork in the house while they were present. Some Muslim co-workers from the UK told them that they were completely wrong and its presence was completely acceptable and the choice to partake was up to the individual and that we had done all that was necessary by labelling the products clearly. So, what’s the Qatar etiquette?

As for the military roles – yeah, you are mistaken. Many countries allow women to serve in full-on combat roles as well combat service support.

Sweetberg
Sweetberg
5 years ago

Only thing, you can’t change the country you live, but you can choose a country to live.. so choose it wisely. and no matter where we live, we’re all just visitors on this planet folks. so just enjoy your journey with generous, showing kindness toward others. there’s not much years left.

Related Articles

- Advertisment -

Most Read

Subscribe to Doha News below!

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.