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Qatar to appoint first female judge 11, March 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Qatar.
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Qatari authorities have announced that they will appoint their first female judge soon. This is squarely aimed at “empowering women in the country and making their presence stronger in the executive, the legislature and judiciary” according to the Assistant Director of Legal Affairs at the Qatar National Human Rights Committee.

This decision comes at an interesting time. Qatar is intrinsically a conservative country. Societal, familial and tribal ‘pressure’ or norms – not laws – dictate that women usually wear a black but often stylish abaya (or at least cover up) at all times in public. Society is also, obviously, patriarchally based and it is frowned upon for Qatari women to meet other men without some kind of chaperone. Nevertheless, Qatar’s second most prominent ‘personality’ is Sheikha Moza, the Emir’s second wife who was the first Arab Gulf wife to be seen on official business with the Emir some years ago. She is also very vocal and visible in her promotion of education to name but one of her myriad of causes. Also, the President of Qatar University is female, so women reaching senior positions in Qatar is not unheard of. Moreover, female students make up nearly 75% of Qatar University’s student population and typically attain class prizes. One must wonder what the entrance of this generation of intelligent and hard-working women into the Qatari workplace will mean for Qatar’s ‘traditional’ society.