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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Report: Qatar still struggling to boost women’s participation in society

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

Qatar has successfully reached many of its development targets ahead of a 2015 deadline set by the United Nations, but still has a ways to go in terms of female empowerment, a new government report states.

The information was released in an update by the Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics on its annual progress toward achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals, “a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions.”

United Nations Millennium Development Goals
United Nations Millennium Development Goals

The eight goals are: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and establish a global partnership for development.

In its report, which appears to focus on the local population, the MDSP said that Qatar has made “great strides” toward universal education and healthcare. It stated that some 92 percent of Qatari children are enrolled in primary school.

In terms of higher education, female students have surpassed their male counterparts, which is helping to achieve gender equality.

However, the economic participation of Qatari women in the labor market remains low, especially in “non-traditional scientific” occupations.

According to a UN Human Development Report (HDR) released last year, some 51 percent of Qatari women are active in the workforce, compared to almost 96 percent of men.

Another challenge is a lack of political participation among Qatari women, the MDPS report stated, adding that a plan is needed to boost their numbers on elected national councils in the future.

Currently, only one woman sits on the 29-member Central Municipal Council. Five females are running in next month’s election, alongside 125 men.

Other challenges

Among the other development goals Qatar continues to grapple with are environmental challenges.

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

The country maintains a safe drinking water supply and adequate sanitation for its citizens, and has successfully reduced some threats to its biodiversity, the report states.

However, high greenhouse gas emissions continue to pose a challenge, which the state hopes to address though a clear environmental policy that focuses on clean energy.

Finally, while the MDSP report lauded Qatar’s human development ranking as the most advanced in the region – coming in at 31st out of nearly 200 countries in 2014 – it acknowledged that progress still needs to be made.

In a vague reference to this, the report states:

“Despite the achievements, we cannot deny there are some challenges related to some social behaviors that should be changed and bring about a suitable course for social development by involving all segments of the society in the development process.”

The UN is expected to set new development targets for the coming years in September. Thoughts?

18 COMMENTS

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Michkey
Michkey
5 years ago

I have the absolute respect for HH Sheikha Moza for what she did (and still doing) to build a progressive and educated Qatar. Qatar Foundation has the potential to address this challenge and given the infrastructure, if is given a chance regardless of the falling economy scare, I believe it can pull through the best score in Gender equality in worskspace in the region, and maybe a pretty good one worldwide.

Observant One
Observant One
5 years ago
Reply to  Michkey

Why doesn’t the seemingly compassionate, honest and ethical HH Sheikha Moza do something about the blatant slavery in her own country? I’ve often wondered this?.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Probably because like most mothers her kids won’t listen to her.

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago

As they say in Arabic … العنوان بصوب و المقال بصوب… The title says something and the article says something else… Women pariticaption in the workforce is above 50%… I’m impressed that’s pretty high for the region … Women pariicaption in non traditional scientific positions… This isn’t a women only problem.. Both gender have relative low pariicaption in such fields… Low women elections.. We have only one elected body … With three or so women running, two of which run against each other..

I don’t know shibina a bit of bait and switch with some of you titles … Anything to generate $ clicks

Misha
Misha
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

What is considered “non traditional scientific” and what is considered traditional scientific positions anyway?!
I’ve never heard these terms before.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Misha

Yes it is a bit of a weird turn of phrase, I guess they mean Engineering and Science. However that is kinda true for the rest of the world especially in Engineering that men outnumber the women.

Misha
Misha
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Yes, that is true in the states, females and minorities such as African-Americans and Hispanics still have fewer numbers in those fields. Equal pay for women is still an issue in most fields in the states as well.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  Misha

Actually the phrase used by the Ministry is “Even though the parity rate between the two sexes is 1.75, the economic participation of Qatari women in labor market is still low and poses a challenge. Women need to be encouraged to work in non-traditional jobs, such as scientific occupations and art crafts. The advocacy of Qatari women’s political participation still poses another challenge which requires the development of a plan to promote woman’s representation in the elected national councils in the next phase.”

Ie rather than saying “non traditional scientific” they have said “non-traditional, such as scientific”. The report clearly outlines a concern that goals are not being met and that action needs to be taken

Misha
Misha
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Thank you, now it makes sense. As someone with a science background, from what I have witnessed they could do a better job in recruiting highschool females in some non-traditional roles. Engineering now has plenty of females after Texas A&M opened its doors here but other roles still don’t have much participation.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  Misha

Qatar ranked 1 in the 2014 World Economic Gender Gap Report on the issue of females enrolled in tertiary education. This is both commendable and worrying as it gives you pause for thought – is there an overabundance of enrolled females or a troubling absence of males?

According to their data for every 5 males students there were 37 female students.

This does leave you to wonder why they are ranked 120th globally in Labour Force Participation and 122th globally for professional and technical workers.

Is the issue that there is no economic imperative to enter the paid workforce? Is the issue relates to societal pressure not to work?

What ever the reason it is strange that so many women eagerly and successfully pursue tertiary education but this isn’t translating into higher employment rates.

Misha
Misha
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

I’m not sure if this report includes the people that study abroad as males far outnumber females in that category. Also males are more likely to go right into the family business (i’m not sure how many get a degree first) and lastly males go into the police, army, airforce so that could account for a lot of them as well.

Also it is not as easy as a lot of expats think for a Qatari to get a job despite the Qatarization campaign. It is easy if you are sponsored by the company to study. If you have been previously employeed it is not so easy to get your foot in the door if you are cold calling a company. In career fairs, most times you just go to drop your cv or they tell you to apply online.

You also have to fight the stereotype of a lazy Qatari before they even had a chance to get to know you and some feel threatened by you because you are Qatari (even Qataris are threatened by other Qataris).

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago
Reply to  Misha

That’s a good point about Qataris studying abroad. The footnote from the WEF report doesn’t make it entirely clear whether they have captured data on people studying abroad or not:

“Enrolment in tertiary education (%): Total enrolment in tertiary education (ISCED 5 and 6), regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the total population of the five-year age group that has left secondary school. Tertiary gross enrolment data should be examined within the context of a country structure regarding military service as well as propensity of student to seek education abroad. Source is UNESCO, Institute for Statistics, Education Indicators, 2013 or latest available data (accessed June 2014).”

I have met more than a few Qataris who have expressed dismay at how hard it can be to find a job if you aren’t well connected or from the right family. Most found the career fair to be a humiliating experience, with companies eager to tell people how many Qataris they wanted to hire, but very few ever receiving offers. Perhaps this is the reason the career fair seems to have fallen off the radar in recent years? In recent years it was even labelled a “failure” by Qatari commentators.

Michkey
Michkey
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Yes have no reason to worry about low male enrollment / employment anomaly! Girls from Qatar and neighbouring countries choose to study here as the infrastructure is good and their fathers worry about sending them abroad to western countries. Boys, on the other hand often gets to study in Europe and U.S. Gender bias is there, which is changing but will still take years. Whatsoever, why would you consider tertiary level education just means to get a job?

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

The headline reflects what the report states, that Qatar did not meet its target in terms of female empowerment. Just because you think the current participation rate is good, doesn’t mean that’s the standard.

Notputtingmynameonthisone
Notputtingmynameonthisone
5 years ago

My wife attended a forum of women in the workplace where part of the talk was given by a very high ranking member of the Vodafone HR team; Al K. She told the women there (although she was only addressing the Qataris apparently) that what was important was the abaya, shoes and handbag that a woman brought to work as that is what really matters. This I am afraid speaks volumes.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago

Sorry but I find it difficult to believe this story, or may be the person meant something different and you did not get it right. With all due respect.

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago

Is it just me or does anyone else smell the b.s

Misha
Misha
5 years ago

That sounds unlikely. Even if she thought it, she must have common sense not to say such things in public. Perhaps she meant “dress for the job you want not the job you have”.
Appearance does matter in the work place. If one comes in with a suit versus khakis and a colored shirt , it gives off a completely different impression which can be very important in a service company.

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