Context: The emirate has for years sat near the bottom of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, which tracks gaps between women and men in employment, education, health and politics.
- Wahhabism is an Arabian form of Salafism, the movement within Islam aimed at its “purification” and the return to the Islam of the Prophet Mohammed and the three successive generations of followers.
- Its two major points of reference are the Koran and the Sunnah.
- The latter consists of hadiths – stories not included in the Koran – describing how the Prophet and the four righteous caliphs dealt with issues in the public and private spheres.
- These, together with the Koran, form the basis of Sharia law.
- Wahhabi Muslims call themselves muwahhidun (proponents of the oneness of God).
- They insist in every aspect of life on strict adherence to Sharia.
Present status of women in Qatar:
- It’s a traditional society that traces its roots to the interior of the Arabian Peninsula, where an ultraconservative form of Islam known as Wahhabism originated.
- The Qatari legal system, based on Islamic law or Shariah, hinders women’s advancement.
Rights and Freedom:
- Qatar’s constitution enshrines equality among citizens.
- But the Qatari legal system discriminates against women when it comes to their freedom of movement and issues of marriage, child custody and inheritance.
- Under Shariah law, for example, women can inherit property, but daughters receive half as much as sons.
- Men can easily divorce their wives, while women must apply to courts from a narrow list of acceptable grounds.
- Men can marry up to four wives without issue, while women must obtain approval from a male guardian to get married at any age.
- Qatari women under the age of 25 also must secure a male guardian’s permission to leave the country.
- There is no government office dedicated to women’s rights.
- There are female cabinet ministers.
- But female candidates did not win a single seat in the legislative elections for the 45-member council.
- Laws guarantee the right to equal pay for Qatari women and men.
- There is no law prohibiting gender discrimination in the workplace.
- Laws ban women from jobs broadly defined as dangerous or inappropriate.
- Women also must seek permission from a male guardian to work in the government and special institutions.
Source: Indian Express