calendar Thursday, 2 December 2021 clock
  • qbook

BEFORE the Shura Council elections, I wrote an article in which I said there were no chances of Qatari women entering the council through elections, and that there was no hope except through appointment or quota.

Some opposed me on the ground that the Qatari society has developed and accepts women’s participation. Quotas, they said, question the competence of women, and interfere in the elections. Now see the election results and women’s participation in the Shura Council!

There were 28 female candidates in the race. They all competed on merit, and not even one of them won despite the large number of women voters who all voted for men.

Why is women’s representation in Shura Council important?

1. It’s not a luxury or a cosmetic democratic appearance to please the world, or to please women, but a necessity for the integrity of the political system of the state.

2. It’s in the interest of the society, in the interest of men, and in the interest of social legislation, and family system.

3. A necessity in order to elevate the parliamentary discourse, refine behaviours, create an atmosphere of harmony among members, and break the tone of anger in discussions.

4. A necessity for reforms, as women support reforms and combating of corruption.

5. It is a safety valve against aggravation.

6. It’s in accordance with constitutional principles of equal opportunities.

7. This is a requirement of justice and fairness. It is not fair to ignore the representation of half of the society.

9. History has shown that there is no real renaissance or development without the participation of women.

10. The absence of women from political and parliamentary life has negative effects on upbringing, because women’s participation in public affairs makes them more capable of raising a generation concerned with public affairs.

Now, why did no female candidate win despite the large number of women voters?

The real challenge for Qatari women candidates was to convince their gender of their competence, and this was a difficult challenge in a society governed by a mindset that questions the competence of women parliamentarians.

There are many factors that prevented women candidates from reaching the council, including:

  1. Fatwas and religious concepts among large women’s groups that view women’s voting and their parliamentary presence as a sin that brings about failure, as according to Al Bukhari, ‘a people will not succeed if they are led by a woman’.

2. Jealousy makes some women to give their votes to men.

3. Prevalent notions among women’s groups that politics and legislation are a men’s affair.

4. Some women submit to the pressures of the tribe, sect, family and husband.

5. The illusions of the superiority of men over women.

6. Influence of the culture of early upbringing biased towards women.

7. The rentier nature of the Gulf economies, which makes women’s political, economic and social marginalization acceptable, since managing and regulating the affairs of the Gulf’s singular resource (oil and gas) is a purely male affair that reduced the need for women’s participation as citizens.

8. In addition, our Gulf regimes, even if they wear the cloak of modernity and wear the guise of democracy, are in essence a political product of the culture of the tribe, sect and family.

Due to all these factors, Qatari women had no access to the council except in one of two ways: quota or appointment.

We are fortunate that the Amir has the right to appoint 15 members of the Shura Council, and out of his generosity and keenness to ensure women’s representation, he appointed two qualified Qatari women to the council, thus ensuring their participation in political and parliamentary life. 

  • qshow
  • Qbook