QATAR: A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report pointed out how male guardianship majorly curtails women’s life in Qatar has come under scrutiny by the Qatar government.
The report reflects on the dependency of women’s decision-making on men. It says that male guardianship dictates women’s life on the aspects of marriage, travel, education, and work. The HRW report was based on 27 laws, as well as regulations, policies, forms, written communications with the government. A wider understanding was bought in through 73 interviews, including 50 in-depth interviews with women affected by this system.
The report points out from various experiences of women from the region. “Male guardianship reinforces the power and control that men have over women’s lives and choices, and may foster or fuel violence, leaving women few viable options to escape abuse from their families and husbands,” said Rothna Begum, senior women’s rights researcher at HRW.
Qatari government rejected the claims and declared gender equality and female empowerment are part of countries vision and success. Accordingly pointing out women’s involvement and contribution to every aspect of life particularly, economic, political, and decision making. The government also pointed out the increased levels of education and opportunities for women, highlighting the sectors of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Qatari Government Communication Office said, “The report issued by Human Rights Watch inaccurately portrays Qatar’s laws, policies, and practices related to women, the accounts mentioned in the report are not aligned with our constitution, laws or policies. The government will investigate these cases and prosecute anyone who has broken the law.”
The Worlds Banks 2013 analysis on the participation of women in the Labour force reflects an increase of 10% in Qatar. According to which Qatar reflects the highest participation of women in the region by 51%. Rana Hendy, an Economic professor at the American University of Cario published a report in 2016 called ‘Female Labor Force Participation in the GCC,’ truly reflecting the different ways through which Middle Eastern governments took action in elevating the female workforce. This involved many solutions like visioning the women role in the five-year plan, launching business forums targeting to guide and increase the business women’s in the region, longer maternity and paternity leaves, increasing the quality of child care.
The HRW report also caused a major backlash from the Qatari women. Who addressed via social media reflecting the report as misleading. “As Qataris, we have achieved great achievements that require the appreciation of the state for its support and the strengthening of our position,” said Elham Bade, Qatari media personality, she added, “you have fallen in the wrong place with the wrong women.”
Qatari government promised to investigate and look into all the mentioned cases and take the required legal action. Dr. Amal Al Malki, Qatari feminist and Founding Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Hamad Bin Khalifa University said, “I hope that authorities respond to the 73 cases in the report to give them the justice and acknowledgment they need instead of addressing the HRW as an organization.”
On a global scale, the report has been viewed as a systematic attack on the Image of Qatar. However, the situation has bought in more clarity on the discriminating practices as a consequence of male-dominated society and not legislation.
Qatari government called out on the HRW report and declared gender equality and female empowerment are part of countries vision and success.