Wednesday, October 16

Women’s Empowerment in Qatar

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Often—well, at least sometimes- I reflect on reasons why powerful international state actors, multinational corporations, major global religious denominations, and other super powerful sectors strive for women’s empowerment.

Is it moral, ethical, or some efficiency deal? I don’t know. But women’s empowerment, according to the people that spend a lot of time on this stuff – the experts, is crucial. It’s core to the development of developing societies, and to the maintenance of developed ones.

Qatar recently made an important statement about the need to provide “empowerment of women in all fields and backing all regional and international efforts in that regard.”

The Commission on the Status of Women, the 61st session, (CSW61) was a recent important event. At the CSW61, Najat Daham Al Abdullah, the director of family affairs at the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour, and Social Affairs, was the reader for the statement on behalf of the Qatari government.

The statement at CSW61 was in the context of the vision in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations at 2030. The empowerment of women is seen as an important thing. Aspects of the SDGs make specific stipulations about gender equality. Others make them more indirectly.

The 5th and the 8th goals were the emphasised goals by Al Abdullah at CSW61. Gender equality and inclusive growth were the points of emphasis. There was mention about the Human Development Index (HDI) as an important metric.

It is a measurement to show development of the country relative to others, and, in fact, the nation of Qatar is doing really well in it. It is “to emphasise that people and their capabilities should be the ultimate criteria for assessing the development of a country, not economic growth alone.”

Qatar, by the HDI, describes the situation for the country as among the top 20% of the world:

Qatar’s HDI value for 2015 is 0.856— which put the country in the very high human development category— positioning it at 33 out of 188 countries and territories. The rank is shared with Cyprus and Malta

That’s excellent, and a healthy sign of development on economic and other factors provided by the HDI. Al Abdullah noted that the growth is intended to be equitable between sexes. Akin to other statements about international equality by 2030, Qatar has one.

It is the Qatar National Vision 2030: developmental vision for social, economic, human, and environmental areas of Qatari society. The website states:

​​​During the reign of His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Father Emir, May God Protect Him, Qatar National Vision 2030 has been launched to serve as a clear road map for Qatar’s future. It aims to propel Qatar forward by balancing the accomplishments that achieve economic growth with the human and natural resources. This vision constitutes a beacon that guides economic, social, human and environmental development of the country in the coming decades, so that it is inclusive and helpful for the citizens and residents of Qatar in various aspects of their lives.

The emphasis is the empowerment of women as well as the protection of women socially. This is all fabulous for the equality of women and men. Al Abdullah, on behalf of Qatar, re-affirmed the in the UN’s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

“Qatari women worked as ministers, ambassadors, and directors of public and private institutions. Qatari women also became the region’s first judges and prosecutors, Al Abdullah added.”

Other stipulations, affirmations, or open statements of obligations and positive rhetoric, from the Qatari statement described the ensuring of women’s right to lead balanced family and work lives and to take on earned work as they see fit – whether “diplomacy, medicine, academia and police.”

There was also discussion on issues outside of Qatar. To give assistance to the areas of the world where there are high levels of poverty and violence amongst women was considered. There was emphasis on the difficulties for Palestinian women in the occupied territories, especially in the Gaza Strip.

Where the statement “called on intensifying efforts in order to improve the situation of women in Palestine and support all her human rights, starting with the right to establish and independent Palestine states in line with international resolutions.”

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Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere.

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