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Monday, January 24, 2022

Interview: ‘Girls need to see early on in their lives that everything is open to them, and nothing will stop them’


by Menatalla Ibrahim

Doha news speaks to leading gender studies scholar, Dr. Amal Mohammed Al-Malki, to find out where she thinks Qatari women stand in their rapidly changing society.

In the past few years, Qatar has taken deliberate steps to empower women by providing support and an environment that will enhance their political, civil, social, economic, and cultural rights. This is articulated in the Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV2030), which speaks of gender equality and individuals realising their full potential. Can you tell me about some changes that you think have supported women’s empowerment in the country?

How have recent developments interiorised the national narrative of change, and helped Qataris embrace new social roles?

Young Qatari females outnumber Qatari males in higher education, according to statistics from QF. In fact, the number keeps growing each year, with more females enrolling in spotlight majors like politics and journalism. What is the significance of this when it comes to women’s development in Qatar?

Hamad bin Khalifa University has a couple of programs that focus on women’s development, especially in the Gulf region. As the dean, have you noticed any changes or different, more open, reactions when the topic of women’s empowerment rises?

What do you think are the biggest challenges women face in Qatar in terms of trying to pursue high-visibility careers or essential careers that aren’t perceived as ‘women-friendly’? I mean visible barriers, hidden barriers, and external and societal pressures.

Both mentoring and strong female representation play a significant role in the development of women. Now more than ever, there are many strong female role models in important positions in Qatar. Has representation helped push women in Qatar, and changed some perspectives about women in high positions?

Qatar has come a long way when it comes to women’s empowerment, but what more do you think can be done — in terms of the national and institutional framework — to support women’s empowerment and educational development in the country?

What message would you send to women in Qatar who are aiming to pursue a successful career?

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