More Qatari women than men are using social media productively, said a professor at Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) yesterday.
“Women are producing more content on social media than men; more Qatar women perceive the Internet as a tool for political influence, and more Qatar women use the Internet for career-building than men, as we found out in a recent survey by NU-Q,” said Ilhem Allagui associate professor in residence at NU-Q’s journalism and strategic communication programme.
Allagui was speaking at a panel discussion on Rise of Internet in the Middle East at NU-Q, as part of its 10th anniversary celebrations.
The panellists included Jeffrey Cole, director of the World Internet Project; Justin Martin, associate professor in residence at NU-Q; Banu Akdenizli, associate professor of communication at NU-Q; and Amy Kristen Sanders, associate professor in residence at NU-Q.
The discussion was moderated by Kahled al-Hroub, professor of liberal arts at NU-Q while Everette E Dennis, dean of the university welcomed the gathering.
According to Allagui, the survey reflects on the way social media enables women’s active social participation and empowerment in Qatar.
The survey shows “the most striking finding in the data is in the use of the Internet for political influence”.
“More Qatari women than men (39% vs 32%) find the Internet to be a tool for political influence. Similarly, more Qatari women than men (43% vs 39%) think that by using the Internet, public officials will care more about what people think,” the survey found.
“The number of Qatari women who think that the Internet should be regulated dropped to 40% in 2017, down from 58% in 2013, indicating their advocacy for more media freedom and less government control.
“This comes at a time when women are appointed to the advisory council for the first time in Qatari history, giving them a voice in political decision-making.
“Online education is another empowering tool that seems to be gaining favour among women in Qatar,” points out the survey.