Thursday, January 1, 2009

With major reforms beginning as early as 1995, Qatar has taken several steps in recent years toward promoting equality and addressing cultural and social traditions that discriminate against women. The 2004 enactment of a new constitution provides hope that equality will be achieved both in law and in practice, but to accomplish this, existing laws must be brought into accord with the nondiscrimination clause in the constitution and women need to be educated about their new rights. These efforts on the part of the government are necessary in light of the challenges to gender equality presented by strict cultural norms, as well as sheer demographics. As in many other oil-rich nations that depend on foreign guest workers to fuel their national economy, women in Qatar are outnumbered by men nearly two to one, creating a society saturated by men. This, in turn, inherently influences women's economic participation and involvement in all aspects of Qatari society.

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