The higher political leadership represented by HH the Emir and the his heir apparent plays a major role in supporting women to attain their rights and improve their status and role in the society. The Qatari woman, on her part, does not grudge any effort in asserting herself and her efficacy in the positions she assumes. To this end, the State of Qatar creates the appropriate working atmosphere that conforms with the familial responsibilities of the Qatari woman in addition to enhancing parity between men and women by providing equal chances for quality education, training women and developing their administrative and leadership skills and boosting the role of the social institutes concerned with women's affairs, particularly, the Supreme Council of Family Affairs which is currently presided by HH Sheikha Moza Bint Naser , wife of the Emir. HH Sheikha Moza has contributed notably to the Council's activities and committees in addition to elevating the level of awareness among women and educating them about their role in the march of economic and social development.
The State of Qatar has long endeavored to make harmony, compassion and love the cornerstones of the Qatari Family. The State of Qatar firmly believes in the high status Qatari woman occupies and her aptitude to assume the highest positions and carrying out duties assigned to her in a manner marked by vigor, effectiveness and responsibility. Perhaps, this is best illustrated by woman's issues and concerns topping the list of priorities mandated by the Emiri Decree on the establishment of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs.
Active women in the economic domain mount to 13.4% of the total number of economists domestically. Their percentage in government sector mounts to 15087 employees of the total number of 35845 person of Qatari labor force in 2003. As much as 70% of these women are holders of college degrees.
The Role of H.H. the Wife of H.H. the Emir
Her Highness has given prominence to the role of Qatari women and created an environment that encourages them to meet their social obligations and participate in public life. H.H. Sheikha Moza endorses women's conferences, which discuss women's issues and recommend solutions for the problems and challenges that confront women who work outside the home.
She has directed most of her attention to education programs, maintaining a direct and continuous association with government and private education institutions. She frequently attends and effectively participates in the meetings of education leaders in all scientific, educational and sports matters. A keen observer of the news will notice that when Her Highness accompanies H.H. the Emir during his official visits, she shows particular interest in visiting educational institutions and universities. Her Highness' keenness to contact education leaders is also conspicuous, together with her desire to familiarize herself with modern educational programs, with the aim of adopting those aspects which do not contradict Islamic teachings and social principles.
Her Highness has spared no effort to bring about a qualitative change in the standard of education and produce a generation capable of keeping pace with the developments and technologies of the times. She was one of the supporters of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, established in 1996 as a private and independent entity. One of the first achievements of the Foundation was the establishment of Qatar Academy, whose council of trustees is chaired by a leading Qatari woman Sheika Al-Misnad. Among other pioneering projects that emerged from the Foundation are the social Development Center and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)-Qatar College of Design Arts.
H.H. Sheikha Moza did not ignore her sons and daughters, the disabled. She has honored them by supporting and sponsoring care activities carried out on their behalf. She has worked hard to establish specialized societies to care for the deaf, the dumb and the blind, such as Al Noor Institute for the Blind. The National Committee for Children with Special Needs is another example. It was established in June 1998 with the initial aim of preparing an extensive study on the establishment and management of Shafallah Center. The Committee is chaired by Sheikha Ghalia Bint Mohammad Al-Thani and has in its membership a number of medical doctors and specialists.
Her Highness, furthermore, sponsored several ladies-only functions such as the conference entitled: The Woman between the Family and the Workplace, which was held in 1997. The conference recommended several activities to help women realize psychological equilibrium and stability and outline approaches geared to support and protect the family. She also sponsored the first and second women's conferences held in March 1994 and May 1996 respectively.
Various Roles of Qatari Women
The Women Affairs Committee
This Committee is affiliated to the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, which was established in 1998. It is charged with caring for women's affairs in many ways, foremost, proposing policies, plans and programs required to upgrade the potential of women culturally, economically and politically. The Committee is also concerned with encouraging women to participate in public life and take available work opportunities especially in the field of education. It sponsors the general rights of women, their rights of assuming leading roles and key positions in society and their role in development process. Enhancing the role of private societies to enable them carry out women-oriented functions and encouraging voluntary work and participation in local and international activities dealing with women affairs are also important parts of the Committee's goals.
Qatari Women in the Field of Education
The field of education was the doorway through which women entered into the workforce. Statistics show that the number of Qatari female students in the State-run schools for the current academic year has risen at greater rates than the number of male students. Working women also represent more than 50% of the total workforce at the Ministry of Education.
Working women at Qatar University either as staff members or administrative personnel account for more than 50% of the total workforce of the University. The appointment of H.E. Mrs. Sheikha Al Mahmoud as Minister of Education on May 6, 2003, to be the first lady ever form Qatar and the gulf region to occupy this important ministerial post, having served since 12 November, 1996 as the under-secretary of the Ministry of Education, comes as a reaffirmation of the will of H.H. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani to activate the Qatari woman's role in the country's educational renaissance. Similarly, Dr. Sheikha Al-Misnad has been appointed to the post of President of Qatar University; thus being the first Qatari woman to assume this post.
Qatari Women in the field of Health
The Qatari women started to participate in the field of health since the late 1960s when she joined the corps of nursing. She first joined the nursing school, which aimed to prepare national cadres to work in this field. Qatari nurses represent more than 21% of the total number of nurses working at The National Health Authority.
The Qatari young girl also took her chance in the field of medicine. she graduated to work at Hamad Medical Corporation and health centers. She also works in preventive health, which comprises the sections of Contagious Decease Control, Vocational Health, Environmental Health, Food Control, Central Laboratories and Al Matar Clinic.
Qatari women in the Field of Charitable Work
Women branches in charitable and voluntary societies play a pivotal role in extending all kinds of help inside and outside the country. They have also been instrumental in assisting with numerous other activities to include preparing field researches on needy families and organizing charity fairs and donation and relief campaigns for stricken regions. Qatar Red Crescent Society was the first to set up a branch for women in 1982. Other societies followed suit and social Development Center later joined the fold. Women work in these establishments both as volunteers and staff.
Qatari women in the Legal Field
Qatari women work at the Ministry of Justice, where preside several sections in this ministry. These are Legislation, Translation and Official Newsletter sections. There are also several legal advisors. The appointment of Mrs. Mariam Abdullah Al Jaber on February 24, 2003 as the first District Attorney in the Gulf region.
Qatari women in the Field of Arts
The Qatari women participated in the field of fine arts, photography, theater decor and artistic direction of TV works.
Qatari Women in the Field of Literature and Journalism
The Qatari women has plunged into the two fields of essay and fiction writing as early as the 1970s through the works of scores of female authors with varied approaches and creative aptitudes. The development of the Qatari press and the multiplicity of publications have provided a favorable atmosphere and an enticing incentive for many outstanding women writers to excel in this field.
Qatari women in the Field of Aviation
Qatari young girls joined Qatar Aeronautical College to study aviation engineering, flight and air traffic control.
Qatari women in the Field of Banking
The Qatari women started to make a stronger presence in this field especially after graduating from the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration. The number of Qatari females working in national and foreign banks reached 205. Banks support the Qatarization policy and provide work opportunities especially for the youths.
Qatari women in the Field of Politics
The rights of the Qatari women to vote and stand as a candidate in elections has been secured by the opening speech of H.H. the Emir given at the ordinary session of the Advisory Council in 1997. It said in that speech: (giving women the right of voting and running as candidates in elections is considered to be a wide stride on the road of popular participation in executive as well as legislative work). The percentage of women who participated in the municipal elections in 1998 reached 47%.It's noteworthy to mention here that the march towards democracy and freedom and a State of law and institutions was further enhanced last year by the election of Mrs. Sheikha Al Jufeiry to the Municipal Council.
Qatari women in the Field of Finance and Investment
Qatar Ladies Investment Company, the first of its kind in the whole region, was established in 1998. It is equally shared by a group of Qatari ladies and Qatar National Bank. A Qatari lady, Sheikha Hanadi Bint Nasser Al-Thani, is holding the senior management post of the Company. In November 2000, the Businesswomen Forum, one of the most outstanding of its kind, was set up after securing the approval of Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which has decided that the forum would serve as one of the Chamber's committees. By doing that the Chamber is trying to provide an encouraging social atmosphere for women to play their role in the development process, increase their contribution in small trades and industrial projects and enhance their potential to take economic decisions.
Qatari Women in the Field of Tourism
Some Qatari female graduates specializing in history, archeology and museum management took on the role of tourist guides. They took over the duty of explaining archeological remains and tourist attractions in Qatar and giving detailed account on the archeological acquisitions of the museum. A number of Qatari girls have joined the workforce of Doha hotels too, in a growing tendency led by Qatar National Hotels Company to encourage the Qatari youths to venture into this field and increase job opportunities for women.
The Qatari Women as a member in the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
In February 2001, H.E. Sheikha Dr. Ghalya Bint Mohammad Bin Hamad Al-Thani became a member of the UN Committee on the rights of the Child after wining one of the five empty seats contested by the 21 signatory countries of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. The elections for the seats took place at the building of the UN in New York, and Dr. Ghalya is to represent the State of Qatar in this position for the following four years.
The appointment of Sheikha Hessa bint Khalifa Al Thani:
The appointment of Sheikha Hessa bint Khalifa Al Thani on May 16, 2003 by Secretary-General Kofi Annan as the Special Rapporteur on Disability of the United Nations Commission for Social Development for the period 2003 to 2005 and her selection from amongst five other candidates from South Africa, Norway, Portugal and Holland further supports the Qatari woman's drive to occupy important posts within the United Nations' different bodies.