Role and representation of Qatari women in milestone elections were central to the discussions
The College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), has kicked off its new Qatari Women’s Affairs Series with a discussion titled Are Women Set for the Upcoming Shura Council Elections?
The first webinar in the series focused on Qatar’s upcoming Shura Council elections in October 2021 and womens’ participation in them, as a major milestone that will yield future outcomes not only within the country, but the entire region. After the elections, the power of the country’s highest legislative body will be expanded in accordance with the Qatari Constitution.
Women were appointed to the Shura Council for the first time in 2017. Discussions during the webinar, therefore, turned to whether Qatari women have prepared for these forthcoming elections and whether they see themselves as eligible to compete in light of social traditions that may still pose obstacles to a real breakthrough for women.
With Dr. Amal Al-Malki, founding dean of CHSS, in attendance, the discussion was moderated by Abeer Abdul Rahman Al-Dosari, a member of the Qatari Women Affairs Steering Committee, and a graduate of the Master of Arts (MA) in Women, Society and Development program at CHSS. Featured speakers leading the dialogue were Her Excellency Dr. Aisha Al Mannai, a member of Qatar’s Shura Council; Dr. Hassan Al-Sayed, professor of public law, College of Law, Qatar University; and Dr. Elham Badr Al-Sadah, Qatari journalist, and media advisor to the CEO of the Qatar Media Corporation.
Dr. Al-Malki said: "We could have asked whether women are ready to go through the political experience, but we did not. We used a question that is often asked in our Arab societies at every point of change or step that women take towards the future. How could we question the ability of Qatari women when we know about their achievements at all levels, and when we are the ones who support their education, training, and equipping them for effective participation in society? We, at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, are committed to extending a helping hand to Qatari women by offering training courses for political empowerment, discussions and advisory sessions by our professors and Arab women who have gone through the political experience."
Speaking after the event, Al-Dosari said: “Our guest speakers agreed that it has become imperative for women to be aware of their important role as an influential force in the political life of the country. The Shura Council elections constitute a significant milestone for Qatar but also for women to participate and serve the country either by voting or taking office. These discussions are timely and important, and we need to highlight these and other issues through conversations driven by leaders of our country’s academic institutions, business, government, and industry. We look forward to continuing this open dialogue through other talks in our new series.”
The Qatari Women's Affairs Series is organized by graduates of the MA in Women, Society and Development program, to tackle women’s issues in the light of societal progress and economic development in Qatar. The College of Humanities and Social Sciences regularly holds events to highlight its research activities and projects. For more information, please visit chss.hbku.edu.qa.