Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, the mother of the Emir, has been keen to be seen as a ‘standard bearer’ for Qatari women and the role that they can play in social and public lives. To show, in fact, that a woman is every bit as capable as a man in these areas.
She has supported the Qatar Institution for Sciences, Education and Society Development that was established in 1996. It is a special institution that first established The Qatar Academy under the chairmanship of Sheikha Al Misnad.
Her Highness has also shown her interest in helping girls with special needs, by establishing the ’Al Shafallah‘ center, headed by Sheikha Ghalia Bint Mohamed Al Thani.
The contribution of Qatari Women:
Qatari women have participated in many fields and achieved educational excellence in most specialisations. Many important positions in this country are occupied by Qatari women.
Notably, women in Qatar have contributed massively in the fields of education, health, charitable institutions, arts, law, media, policy, banks and other sectors.
Internationally, Qatari women have made an impact. In February 2001, Dr Sheikha Ghalia Bint Mohamed bin Hamad Al Thani, member of UN Child Rights Committee was elevated to a senior position with the United Nations in New York ahead of the representatives of 21 other countries who, like Qatar, have signed the International Convention on Children’s Rights.
Overall, Qatari women play a significant part in arts – writing, photography, poetry and more.
A relatively new development is the admission of the first time for females to the Qatar Aeronautics College for the study of aeronautical engineering and air traffic control. These were seen as traditionally male pursuits, but in modern-day Qatar, this is no longer the case.
Politically, women in Qatar achieved suffrage in 1997, long before its neighbors Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, the UAE and Saudi Arabia followed suit.
In 1998, the role of women in the field of investment and financial affairs became more prominent through establishing an investment company for ladies. The company is a joint venture between a group of Qatari ladies and Qatar International Bank, and managed by Sheikha Hanadi Bint Nasser Al Thani.
In 2000, The Qatari Business Women Forum was established. Within the Qatar Chamber of Commerce, it is a body that aims to create a favorable environment for women to contribute effectively in the development of projects and enhance their role in economic decision-making for the betterment of the Qatari economy and its society.
In tourism, female graduates from Qatar University who have specialised in history, archaeology, and administration have carved out important roles within the growing tourist sector as guides, who can inform – from a base of knowledge and experience – about the history of the monuments and artifacts of this country.
In modern day Qatar, women are competing equally with men in the workplace in terms of quality of work and tenacity. They are supported to a great extent by seeing members of their sex in important and outspoken positions within government, who are demanding and achieving equal rights and status in what has traditionally been a male-dominated region and society.
The State of Qatar seeks to cultivate an atmosphere that nurtures gender parity in education and access to training to help women upgrade their management and leadership skills.
Qatar has expressed its strong belief in the ability of its female citizens to handle the most senior roles and perform effectively. Thus, women’s issues and affairs was one of the most important priorities taken into consideration when the Supreme Council for Family Affairs was established.
Around 15% of the total female population is ‘economically active’. While this number is still quite low by global standards, it is growing daily.
Women in governmental, mixed and private sectors make up just under half of the workforce and it is stated that 70% of employees in the governmental body have university degrees.
Her Highness Sheikha Moza has paid great attention to highlighting the prominent role of Qatari women and encouraging them to move forward with social responsibilities and participation in public life.
Sheikha Moza is also interested in all-female conferences that discuss women’s issues. She also helps to propose solutions for the problems and challenges that women face in their career and practical lives.
Her Highness has spared no effort to improve educational programs for women, focusing on educational institutions, governmental and private education, through her presence and active participation in the meetings of educational leaders in scientific, educational, and sport sectors.
Her Highness seeks a quantum leap in the level of education of a generation of women capable of facing future challenges, so H.H was one of the main supporters of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Sciences and Community Development, which was established in 1996 as a private and independent institution. Presidency of the, Board of Trustees of the Academy has been entrusted to Dr. Sheikha Bint Abdullah Al Misnad.
Prominent roles of Qatari women:
Women’s Affairs Community:
The Supreme Council for Family Affairs, established in 1998, suggests policies, plans and programmes necessary for developing Qatari women culturally, economically and politically. It also works on encouraging women to participate in public life and seize the available opportunities in education and employment.
Qatari Women in the field of Education:
Qatari women have begun breaking through into the field of education, which is considered a sector most in need of the female participation.
The statistics of the Ministry has shown a huge increase in the number of the Qatari female students in the country’s state schools in recent academic years.
In front of the class, Qatari women actually occupy more than 50% - a majority – of roles within the Ministry of Education.
Further, the percentage of women at Qatar University, be they members of staff or administrative employees, also exceeds 50% of the total at the university as a whole.
The appointment of Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mahmoud as Minister of Education in May, 2003 as the first woman in Qatar (and the Gulf) to take up this important ministerial position is confirmation of His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani’s commitment to the increasing importance of the role of women within Qatar’s educational renaissance.
Meanwhile, Dr. Sheikha Abdulla Al Misnad has been appointed as a president of the University of Qatar; she is also the first woman to hold this position.
Qatari women in the field of Health:
Qatari women have contributed to the health sector since the late 1960s through their involvement in nursing and study in nursing schools. The proportion of Qatari nurses exceeds 21% of nurses working within the Supreme Council of Health.
Women in Qatar also have every opportunity to excel in the field of medicine, where many medical students have graduated to work in Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and other health centers. Qatari women also work in preventative medicine, which includes sections for combating transitional diseases, occupational health, environmental health, food health studies, central laboratories and the airport clinic.
The contribution of Qatari woman in Charity:
Women play a pivotal role in providing all types of aid and subsidies inside and outside the Qatari community, as well as various activities such as the preparation of field research for needy families, the establishment of charitable causes, and the organisation of donation campaigns to areas of need.
The Qatar Red Crescent Society was the first to establish a Women's Section in 1982, before more associations joined and set up women’s branches in addition to the country’s Social Development Center. Qatari women work in these communities both as employees and as volunteers.
Qatari women and the law:
Qatari women are also found in the Ministry of Justice, and head several departments in the ministry in areas such as legislation, translation, and the Official Gazette, as well as a number of juristic researchers.