Bias hampers women’s progress in Qatar

December 23, 2010

Deeply held opinions about the role of women are a major problem that women working in the legal profession in Qatar must confront, a discussion panel has agreed.

According to participants discussing “Women in law practice” at Qatar University, Arab society tends to believe that men are the holders of power and women have to abide by rules set by men.

“The reason I decided to purse judicial studies was to prove to society that Qatari women are capable of being successful and responsible in top leadership positions,” Hessa Al Sulaiti, Qatar’s first woman judge, said.

“I believe that women have a greater ability in tackling personal issues that men do,” she was quoted as saying in the Qatari daily The Peninsula.

Qatari women had shown that they could be successful and responsible leaders in various fields, said Qatar’s only woman judge.

Mariam Yousuf Arab, Assistant Director, Centre of Law and Judicial Studies, Nouf Al Sulaiti, Director, Legal Affairs Department, Vodafone and Hind Al Saffar, a practising private lawyer, were the other panellists who discussed the complexity women face in the legal profession.

Mariam highlighted the difficulties faced by women studying law by recalling how she was questioned by family, friends and colleagues about where she would work.

“The challenge in the 1980s was where to study law, since the subject was not offered at universities here or in the region,” she said.

“Qatar’s achievement was a result of a series of complementary efforts on the part of various sectors.”

The discussion was also designed to provide students with information about the professional opportunities available to female lawyers in Qatar and in the region, the daily said.

Cap on achievement

“For women in the Arab society, there is a cap on the level of achievement they can reach,” Nouf Al Sulaiti said. “There isn’t a level of surety of how high women can reach in the workplace in Qatar.”

Shaikha Abdullah Al Misnad, President, QU said: “This event serves to prove that Qatar gives rights to individuals from both genders to engage in domestic and international affairs without discrimination which discourages transparency in the society.”



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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