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Thursday, June 24, 2021

Qatar Foundation reminds staff to dress respectfully

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Education City

Employees of Qatar Foundation (QF) have received a reminder that they are required to dress in a way that presents a “consistent, professional and respectful image.”

The memo, which QF said is not connected to the recently revived grassroots modesty campaign Reflect Your Respect, nevertheless comes at a time of heightened sensitivity in Qatar around what is considered appropriate dress in public places.

Last week, QF’s executive director of Human Resources Hassan Mohd Al Hammadi sent an email to members of staff clarifying the organization’s HR policy on attire.

In the email, Al Hammadi said:

“In order to maintain a professional image, Qatar Foundation has a Dress Code Policy, which outlines dress and personal presentation guidelines to ensure that business attire is professional and reflects respect for local culture and customs.”

The detailed dress code advises QF employees to “dress conservatively in professionally appropriate attire,” adding that casual and sports clothes are not suitable.

Male staff not in national dress should wear trousers and a shirt and are required to wear a suit and tie for public or government meetings or dinners.

For women, dresses, trousers and skirts below the knee are acceptable. Blouses with a “modest neckline and no less than half a sleeve” are required.

Female staff members were also advised: “the more frequent an employee interacts with the public, the more conservative she should dress.”

Some of the points of the dress code at QF.
Some of the points of the dress code at QF.

Tight, revealing and transparent clothing, denim, or clothing potentially offensive logos, slogans or pictures are all considered inappropriate. Those whose clothing does not meet the required standards could be subject to disciplinary action, staff were advised.

Speaking to Doha News about the policy, a QF spokesman would not confirm if the dress code had been updated recently. He said:

“We have always had policies and procedures like this in place. The organization has grown and we are reinforcing the message.”

The memo does not appear to have come as a surprise to QF staff, some of whom told Doha News that dressing in keeping with Qatari tradition and culture is expected within the organization.

The policy is believed to apply to all QF staff and contractors, and not staff at specific universities, although many individual institutions within Education City also issue advice to their employees to dress conservatively.

Weill Cornell Medical College Qatar’s website includes a page on Qatar culture, and advises its community:

“Foreign visitors are expected to dress in a style that is sensitive to the Islamic culture. Conservative clothing is recommended. Men generally wear long trousers and a shirt in public. Women’s attire in public – as opposed to hotels or private clubs – should cover the shoulders, upper arms and knees.”

Outside of QF, Qatar University issued a dress policy reminder to students some two years ago. That policy has been met with mixed reactions, with some students and staff welcoming the initiative – which ruled against tight, revealing or provocative clothing and casual wear – while others felt this impinged on their right to express their identity.

New emphasis

Reflect Your Respect is slated to be relaunched next month, ahead of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

That campaign, organized by a group of individuals, will begin on June 20 with a weekend of leafleting in malls and parks, and is focused on raising awareness among expats on what is considered by many nationals to be appropriate standards of dress in public places.

As the modesty campaign relaunches, and with Ramadan approaching, some expats told Doha News that they have become more conscious of their clothing, and are trying to err on the side of caution in terms of their choice of dress.

On Twitter, meanwhile, other residents have asked their colleagues to put Qatar’s dress code in perspective:

What to wear

While there is no official code detailing appropriate dress in Qatar, the general rule-of-thumb has been that for women, shoulders and knees should be covered in public and they should avoid plunging necklines.

Sleeveless t-shirts and shorts have been considered inappropriate for men in public places.

However, many government and semi-government organizations have more conservative dress codes, and there are anecdotes of people being turned away from ministries and other government buildings due to their level of dress.

What are your thoughts?

35 COMMENTS

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Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
7 years ago

Great…well done…this should be implemented in the whole of qatar

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
7 years ago

I assume you mean in a working environment.

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
7 years ago
Reply to  outdoorsboys

No…you read it wrong..i mean in the whole of qatar

Huzz
Huzz
7 years ago

Why not invite the Saudis up here. Then you can have it everywhere 24/7 🙂

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
7 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

Huzz…InshaAllah…Ameen on 24/7 🙂

Huzz
Huzz
7 years ago

Well when that happens it will be time for me to bail. Best of luck. Having that said, things would be cheaper in the shops.

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
7 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

Best of luck 🙂

Pete
Pete
7 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

Me first…once my exit permit is approved.

DEEM
DEEM
7 years ago

Agreed. We always try to be careful… My wife even has an Abaya, should the need arise… And more should do so. I often see expat women on their way to a brunch… Walking through the middle of West Bay dressed entirely inappropriately. It’s ok when they get to the W or Intercon, but on the way… How easy is it to cover up? Especially on a Friday.

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
7 years ago

The Dress code is very similar to that for professional staff at my previous employer, and that was in the UK. It isn’t contentious, it is civilized and professional. If you represent a large organisation in any capacity, you are the face of that organisation to those you meet. I have no problem with this at all, I save my sleeveless tops and short skirts for leisure wear, and wouldn’t be seen dead in sports wear except when exercising.

A_qtr
A_qtr
7 years ago

No news here!! I can’t find the news story. In my old job a Qatari used to often were jeans to the office (claimed he was working on-site for some projects). HR told him either thoub or suit. An expat wore a single gold chain with his unbuttoned shirt, same, they told him remove it or go on button up.

DB
DB
7 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Neither of those struck you as overreactions?

Mayette
Mayette
7 years ago
Reply to  DB

depends on the workplace. if it’s casual, then jeans and gold chains wouldnt be an issue, if it’s professional, suit and jacket or national dress.

would you see a man wearing jeans running around wallstreet with a briefcase? didn’t think so

Meggles77
Meggles77
7 years ago

Not sure why this is news? You must wear business attire in an office situation. This is not unusual. Qatar Airways have similar policies regarding their staff when in civilian clothing at the office. As do most businesses the world over.

Ali
Ali
7 years ago

Can a non Qatari come in Qatari national dress?

By the way I have problem with this “Male staff not in national dress should wear trousers and a shirt and are required to wear a suit and tie for public or government meetings or dinners.”. Why do I have to wear a tie and/or suit? Isn’t formal trouser and shirt enough?

Restie
Restie
7 years ago
Reply to  Ali

A button down shirt and dress pants would be considered business casual to a degree, but most definitions of business casual that I’ve seen implemented involve the inclusion either a matching jacket, a sports coat or a blazer.

Wearing a tie and a jacket would be required at a minimum for any sort of a formal dinner or meeting in any sort of traditional, professional organisation in most countries, because a tie without a jacket makes you look like a waiter and a jacket without tie makes you look like a rockstar or a member of the Iranian government.

Amin
Amin
7 years ago
Reply to  Restie

“because a tie without a jacket makes you look like a waiter and a
jacket without tie makes you look like a rockstar or a member of the
Iranian government” Looool

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago

Doha News, you do realise this dress code can be found pretty much everywhere in the world, right? Why is this news? For many professions, one is required to dress conservatively and appropriately, simply because it makes you look more professional in the work setting. If it’s away from work, then that’s another story, but I don’t see why this is newsworthy…

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago

This is reasonable to ask employees to do when represented the company during work hours.

Telling people how to dress in their spare time is not acceptable, either by the employer or being harrassed by random members of the public who think they have a right to moral superiority.

Luciano Salvatore
Luciano Salvatore
7 years ago

Can a non qatari wear a thobe in office?

A_qtr
A_qtr
7 years ago

Yes you’ll just look funny it isn’t as easy as it looks to pull

Masboro
Masboro
7 years ago

This is very common in most workplaces and I don’t see any connection to the ‘reflect your respect’ campaign which is the more conservative elements of Qatar society trying their best to ensure that Qatar never becomes a ‘world’ tourist destination.

Mayette
Mayette
7 years ago
Reply to  Masboro

there is a connection, actually. companies were told to reinforce professional attire in the workplace.

no offense, but i’ve been seeing way too many miniskirts and boobie-jackets at the workplace to say that’s not a common problem. men in with their nipples hanging out because they’re not wearing undershirts and wearing shorts to add to the other gender, too. this would not be acceptable anywhere else, so why do that in a conservative country?

Masboro
Masboro
7 years ago
Reply to  Mayette

‘Who’ told ‘which’ companies to reinforce the professional dress code? I work for a large multinational and nothing has been issued to the employees. Also I am intrigued by comments about men’s nipples. Do you mean that you can see them through the shirt or they just ‘stick out’? Do mean that men are wearing shorts to work in the office? Who knew dressing for the office could be such a minefield?

Mayette
Mayette
7 years ago
Reply to  Masboro

depends on whether you are semi private and roll-out is happening in government entities first, semi privates and corps next. most companies i know are not too keen to send out the email but they have to before ramadan.

when you sweat under a light shirt, your glorious nipples of Neptune are bound to show, with the occasion of chest hair.

minefield? it’s called professional attire, shorts, Tshirts, flipflops and other casual items are hardly in the wear to work corner at any clothing store. your company is casual? semi-casual? professional? if you work in a multicorp i highly doubt you go to work in Shorts without raising a few eyebrows

Masboro
Masboro
7 years ago
Reply to  Mayette

What sort of office do you work in where people sweat that much that their shirts become soaked in sweat?
I agree that shorts flip flops have no place in the office and our company routinely sends a reminder about ‘respectable” dress during Ramadan so it looks like this initiative is jus ‘business as usual’.

Michael L
Michael L
7 years ago

I agree with other posts … this is not news … common sense is not news …. another slow news day? No more malls to tell us about?

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

Not much happens in Qatar and you can print stories about car deaths, fires and 2022 every day…..

A_qtr
A_qtr
7 years ago

Haha Dohanews expected a Qatar bashing session and stir up expats on how Doha is this and that…. Disappointed

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

That’s their goal here lmao.

Moizuddin
Moizuddin
7 years ago

we are not being updated in regards to the NOC system but dressing and etc…. Hatts off!!

koko
koko
7 years ago

The comment above in the story by “Vani” is ridiculous. I’m sorry, we don’t need to compare our situation to Saudi because Qatar is NOT Saudi and that is the point ppl are trying to make. You and the rest of us would not be living here if Qatar was like Saudi and that is the point of putting Qatar on the Map by winning the FIFA 2022. Srsly can ppl get anymore small minded. In the workplace is it a professional curtsey to dress appropriately.. the issues most of us have is that our dress code is being dictated to us outside of the work place. We have little enough “Choices” here in Qatar as it is without limited our choices to our attire also. Respect is a two way street.. Qatari’s should respect their own laws first before trying to implement their views on expats… it’s only the minority that have a problem with all this.

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago
Reply to  koko

Hmmm… Whilst I understand your anger and your frustration at being told what to wear outside the workplace (unreasonable considering I can wear what I want in the US, UK, etc), I disagree that a minority wants the dress code to be implemented. A lot of people from East Asia, South Asia and across the Middle East have no problem with the dress code and want to see it implemented too.

desertCard
desertCard
7 years ago

So this doesn’t apply to students, only staff? I see some girls that look like $2 hookers on campuses.

KK
KK
7 years ago

To QF : aren’t there more urgent issues to address ?

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