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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Workplace nurseries, mosque space key issues for female Qatari voters


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

With just weeks to go before more than 100 Qataris stand in the latest Central Municipal Council elections, candidates have been working to woo voters to the polls with several promises.

Many have pledged that, if elected, they would try to boost development in their areas through the creation of more parks and health and sports facilities.

Several issues pertaining specifically to women, including the idea of setting up daycares in the workplace, have also been raised.

Sparking conversation

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

Formed in 1999, Qatar’s only elected body can only make recommendations and has no legislative authority. This lack of power appears to have diminished interest in the upcoming elections, which have seen record-low registration levels.

Though only a fraction – five – of the candidates who are running this term are women, some 40 percent of those who have registered to vote are female.

Speaking to Doha News at a town hall meeting this week, many women said they felt it was their civic duty to participate in the elections, and shed light on issues pertinent to them. Voter Amna Ahmad al-Naama, 54, said:

“A large mosque with a proper, spacious place for women is all I need.”

Another woman, 53-year-old Bannah Al-Tamimi, said she would like to see a young girls’ club or center set up in her district. That way, teens would have a place to spend their time productively during long summer breaks by engaging in sports, crafts and Quran memorization, she said.

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

Speaking at this week’s meeting, incumbent CMC member Sheikha al-Jufairi, currently the only woman on the council, renewed her pledge to set up nurseries in the workplace.

When she first raised the idea to the council three years ago, many members rejected the notion as infeasible, as the presence of children could derail productivity.

But as Qatar strives to increase the number of women in the labor force, she said this week that the government appears to be coming around to the idea.

There are 29 seats up for grabs during next month’s elections, though a handful of candidates are running unopposed in their constituencies. Only Qataris can run and vote at the polls, though some hopefuls say they would also like to hear from expats about ideas to improve the community.



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Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago

It’s good to hear that the women are standing up and trying to take control of issues that affect them in their society. Well done.
It’s very short sighted of the council to refuse workplace day care on such a flimsy basis as it will ‘ derail productivity’. They only need to investigate countries that provide workplace nursery care to see how well it works for the children and the parents. Productivity is maintained at the very least but more often it increases.
I can’t understand how such a family orientated country puts up obstacles that would decrease the stress put on both parents and child by having less separation time and at the same time help improve their qatarisation quotas by encouraging more local women back to work after having babies.

6 years ago

They should implement this idea of workplace nurseries in one organization here first as a pilot project and see the effects before making a nationwide decision for or against it.

Usually the case is if a worker is unmotivated or unproductive they will find any way to waste time regardless of if there is a nursery present. Napping in the office, on mobiles, the internet, chatting etc

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