How free are Qatar Women?
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Contents: Qatar Women | Misconceptions about Women in Qatar | How free are women in Qatar? | Why do women in Qatar cover their faces? | Qatari Women and Education | Qatari Women, Love and Marriage | Changing our Perceptions
Qatar Women and Freedom
Image by Clive Power
A common misconception of Qatari women is that they have little or no freedom. Wrong again. The amount of freedom a Qatari woman has depends really on how liberal and open-minded her family is. Bedouin families do tend to be more conservative than Hadhar families, (Hadhar being the tribes that in the past were the first to settle in Qatar's towns and cities), but today even Bedouin families are starting to become more liberal with their wives and daughters.
A few Qatari women have unlimited freedom; I do know a number of Qatari women who dress how they want to, drive, go out when and where they like and travel abroad with their girlfriends on their own, but they are the minority. Most Qatari women have a moderate amount of freedom; they are allowed to go to work and go to university even if it is a mixed gender environment, and they are not allowed to go out alone as such, but are allowed to go out with their girlfriends provided that they do not come home late.
...it is becoming an increasingly small percentage of Qatari women who have little or no freedom.
There are a few husbands and families who do not give their wives and daughters any freedom; these women are not allowed to work and if they want to go out they must be with a member of family; they are not allowed to go out alone with girlfriends, but it is becoming an increasingly small percentage of Qatari women who have little or no freedom.
Since in most Qatari families major life-decisions regarding issues such as travel, work and marriage are still up to the father and older brothers, the extent to which a Qatari woman's father and older brothers are liberal is the extent to which she is free.