The role of Qatari women throughout history has been prominent, whether in the family or practical life.
Dr Muna al-Maslamani
Dr Jameela al-Ajmi
Dr Hanadi al-Hamad
In the pre-oil era, the economic situation of many families required the participation of women in a lot of work, especially during the diving season, and they are continuing their efforts as a housewife or in various developmental areas.
There is no doubt that the enhancement of the role of women in the Qatari society has been greatly contributed by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development, as Her Highness launched over the past years many initiatives and programmes that motivated and encouraged Qatari women through a qualitative shift in the level of education and qualification of a new generation to meet the requirement for development.
Her Highness Sheikha Moza is a role model for Qatari women, where she played multiple and varied roles that extend beyond the borders of Qatar, as Her Highness is a social activist who represents the driving force behind a group of innovative and creative programmes in Qatar and the world.
The promotion of active citizenship has also been at the heart of the work of Sheikha Moza, as it encourages initiatives that develop skills, teamwork, self-reliance, and social participation.
Her Highness Sheikha Moza has launched many initiatives, programmes, and institutions aimed at enhancing the role of women in society, including the establishment of Sidra Medicine, affiliated to Qatar Foundation, which is a state-of-the-art facility committed to providing high-quality healthcare to women and children in Qatar, provided by many Qatari women cadres.
The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has swept the world and Qatar was not immune from it, however, it showcased a good example of the ability of Qatari women to lead national efforts to tackle the virus from various positions, whether minister, doctor or nurse.
Qatar has many Qatari women cadres working in the health field, whether as doctors or nurses and leaders in important medical specialisations, where they all formed a qualitative addition to the efforts made to combat the virus.
These efforts are led ably by HE the Minister of Public Health Dr Hanan al-Kuwari, who assumed her position in 2016 and previously held the position of Director General of HMC.
Besides the health minister's efforts to tackle the coronavirus, Qatari women are at the forefront to overcome the pandemic crisis, whether in the health sector through working in the hospitals and health centres or through the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management, as HE Lolwah Rashid AlKhater is the Committee's Official Spokesperson, or as volunteers, and through her social responsibilities in her family.
HE the Minister of Public Health Dr Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari reviewed in a high-level international meeting held through video conference recently, the important role played by women in Qatar in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
At that event, she pointed out that women constitute a high percentage of healthcare workers at the frontline fighting against the pandemic and protecting the society.
The minister also underlined the significant role carried out by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser at the local and international levels, noting that she has joined the global initiative "Rise for All" which includes a group of women leaders, launched in support of the UN Secretary-General's call for solidarity and collective action to address the social and economic impacts of the pandemic.
The contribution of women and their effective participation in the efforts to combat the coronavirus was not by chance or the result of a temporary need, but rather it was due to the strategic planning undertaken by Qatar which believes in the ability of Qatari women and placed full confidence in them.
This was reflected in the great educational capabilities provided by the State to them either by attracting Qatari females to study medicine at Qatar University and Weill Cornell College in Qatar in Education City or the nursing and pharmacy specialties at Qatar University and also nursing at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar.
Interest in the education, training and empowerment of Qatari women could be a direct reason for their excellence in the positions and tasks they currently assume within the health sector in the country and have had a direct impact on their practical and professional success.
Figures highlight this trend, as the distinguished educational system in Qatar has been credited with building the capabilities of Qatari women.
Contemporary educational infrastructure and international competition have contributed to pushing the role of Qatari women forward on the path of development and modernisation.
Qatar has achieved unprecedented success in the region after it managed to bridge the gender gap with regard to enrollment in the various educational stages, as indicated in the World Economic Forum (Davos) report.
The rates of female enrollment in higher education in Qatar are proceeding at a steady pace in favour of females significantly, according to various official statistics.
The percentage of female graduates from Qatar University, for example, constitutes about 70% of all graduates from various colleges, and enrollment rates in Education City universities affiliated with Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development tend to favor females.
As a result of this turnout on higher education and according to different statistics, the percentage of Qatari women in the workforce has increased, reaching about 37% for women aged 25-29 years, and approaching 49% for the age group 30-34 years, where Qatari women represent the largest proportion in the sectors of education, health and social work.
In terms of empowering women from leadership positions, official statistical reports indicate that the representation of Qatari women in decision-making positions amounts to 30%. The Qatar National Vision 2030 and Population Policy 2017-2022 seek to raise this percentage while increasing the political representation of Qatari women.
In fact, Qatar is the first Gulf country where women hold ministerial positions.
In 2003, HE Sheikha al-Mahmoud was appointed as Minister of Education, followed by the appointment of the Minister of Health in 2008.
There are many examples of Qataris women leaders' efforts in tackling the coronavirus and their contribution to combating it, as this role has been clearly demonstrated through the contribution of Qatari female doctors, nurses, volunteers and administrators in the fight against the pandemic by using their knowledge and working hard as a national shield that protects all members of society.
In remarks to Qatar News Agency (QNA), Qatari women leaders working in the frontline to combat the coronavirus pandemic affirmed their great role in the current situation, whether they were as housewives or in the frontline to confront the pandemic.
Communicable Diseases Center (CDC) Medical Director at HMC Dr Muna al-Maslamani said that the Qatari woman has always demonstrated her ability to do the best and overcome all challenges thanks to the social and educational training she received.
She also affirmed that the State's interest in female staff and their training had a profound impact on women's occupation of a prominent position in the Qatari society, and the Qatari woman works alongside man to give more and to excel in her field of work.
Al-Maslamani pointed out that the pandemic highlighted the important role that Qatari women play and their ability to provide qualitative addition within the health cadres working in providing treatment for infected patients.
She explained that the CDC is full of many Qatari energies, including female doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, and administrators, all of them have contributed to the efforts to tackle the coronavirus.
She underscored that the support and encouragement Qatari women receive from the wise leadership were behind their brilliance and excellence in all posts they held.
For her part, Medical Director of Rumailah Hospital and the Qatar Rehabilitation Institute at HMC Dr Hanadi al-Hamad said that the pandemic highlighted many new solutions to provide medical care to patients, especially the elderly, as health cadres worked on creating new models to provide care for community members in their homes without the need to visit medical facilities to protect against the risk of transmission.
Dr Hanadi, who is also National Health Strategy Lead for Healthy Ageing, explained that the health teams that work in providing healthcare include a large number of Qatari female cadres who work tirelessly to provide the best medical care for patients.
The medical teams include Qatari female doctors, nurses and specialists in various fields, and they provide high-quality specialised care to community members during this pandemic thanks to the training and continuing education they have received, she said.
Dr Hanadi stressed that the Qatari woman was able in this period to prove a great ability to work hard in such crises, and was even able to find innovative solutions to new ways in providing medical care to society despite the pandemic.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the heroes have formed a strong line to protect society from the virus, and Qatari women have always been in the front ranks with men in doing everything possible to confront it.
In this context, Executive Director of Corporate Infection Prevention and Control at HMC Dr Jameela al-Ajmi said that over the years, Qatari women have proven their ability to withstand, sacrifice and do all that possible in order to advance their country.
She explained that the coronavirus pandemic crisis posed a challenge for the Qatari women, who was able to prove her scientific and practical capabilities as she stood firmly and was in the front ranks in the health sector to combat this virus, pointing out that the health system in Qatar is full of Qatari female youth and women who work in several medical, technical and nursing fields and do everything in their power to protect society from the risks of the virus.
For her part, Chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at HMC Dr Enas al-Kuwari emphasised that the Qatari woman has always excelled in all the posts she occupies, and that the pandemic highlighted the great role played by Qatari women in the health field, pointing out that HMC laboratories include many Qatari women who are physicians and lab specialists and who are working around the clock in efforts to tackle the pandemic through many tests conducted or being conducted by laboratories to detect the virus.
She stressed that the wise leadership has relied on Qatari women from the beginning and the government provided all support to them."Today, we are reaping the fruits of this investment in the Qatari female component and we find Qatari women working alongside their male brothers in the frontline in efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic."
They take the lead in dealing with the coronavirus, despite overworking with a smile. They are working hard to provide nursing care for patients with Covid-19 at designated medical facilities.
Assistant Executive Director of Nursing at the HMC Dr Asma Mousa said that over the past years the HMC has attracted many nurses who specialise in the health sector and who have been able to demonstrate their great capabilities in providing compassionate care to all patients.
She stressed that nurses stand today in the frontline to provide high-quality medical care for all patients, based on the values of the noble profession that they occupy, as they have proven a high ability to adapt to all circumstances.
For their part, Qatari volunteers have contributed greatly to efforts aimed at confronting the coronavirus pandemic, as they volunteered in order to protect society from the dangers of infection in multiple locations and different tasks.
In this regard, the Qatari woman did not hesitate to participate alongside her brother man when the Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) launched the "Volunteer with us for Qatar" initiative, which was a great success and attracted a large number of young men and women of different ages and experiences.
The tasks of the Qatari volunteers range from providing psychological support, health education and services in quarantine sites, to health inspection of restaurants and commercial establishments in co-operation with the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, in addition to supervising community awareness operations and distributing medical supplies in cooperation with the community police.
CEO of the Volunteer and Local Development Sector at QRCS Mona Fadel al-Sulaiti said that emanating from humanitarian principles and the general orientation of the State to empower women and enhance their role in society, the QRCS pays great attention to women, as it is at the heart of all its activities, both as beneficiaries of development programs and social assistance, or as a primary contributor to the implementation of these programs and aid.
She added that QRCS's young and ambitious women volunteers continue the journey of giving and excellence, as they stand shoulder to shoulder with young volunteers in all the work of the QRCS that needs their effort and giving.
She emphasised that the female volunteers demonstrated their high efficiency in carrying out all the tasks assigned to them, especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic, in terms of participation in distributing food and social assistance to families affected by the closure of shops and workshops, and being in consumer complexes to organise the operations of entering and leaving these complexes, measuring temperature, distributing health protection means to consumers, and providing specialised training courses for volunteers and new female volunteers on how to deal psychologically with different individuals and support them morally in light of the spread of the virus.
In Mekaines quarantine facility, which is managed by the QRCS and commissioned by the Ministry of Public Health to receive and care for infected workers, the female volunteers made active contribution in the aspects that commensurate with the experiences and specialties on which they were trained since joining the QRCS.
A team of volunteers who specialise in the field of psychosocial support was formed and they communicate with occupants to raise their morale and provide them with a set of positive ideas and suggestions useful to spend the period of isolation.
The team is also concerned with supporting the teams in the Mekaines quarantine facility in order to reduce the pressure of work on them, and renew their energies and motivations to continue their efforts with enthusiasm and positivity.