When compared to the GCC and the Arab world, Qatar has always been a pioneer in women’s rights.
Women’s rights across the Arab world have for long been criticized and voices for reform are louder than ever. But while some Arab/Muslim countries are just giving women rights, women in Qatar have been a full member of society for decades.
At a time when Arab countries like Tunisia and Saudi Arabia are still debating matters of women’s rights, such as the right to marry and the right to drive, Qatar, despite practicing sharia law, has for long been a women’s rights pioneer.
Driving & Travel
Women in Qatar are able to obtain driving licences and drive on all roads in the country. Qatari women are also free to apply for a passport without the need for approval from a male guardian.
While both men and women are expected to dress modestly and in accordance to social customs, women in Qatar are free to dress however they wish.
Since 2012, there have been more than twice as many female university students than men in Qatar. More than half of the Ministry of Education’s employees are women, and women have are accepted into schools of law, engineering, medicine, etc.
Women in Qatar makeup roughly 51% of the labor force, which is highest rate in the GCC. Women are allowed to practice most professions, and while managerial positions are generally held by men, the government has initiated programs to encourage women to take leading roles in business and enterprise.
In Qatar, both men and women gained the right to vote simultaneously. It was the first GCC country to give both genders the right to vote, as well as the right to run for office.