Qatari women unsuccessful in first legislative elections By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Al-Maha Al-Majid, a candidate in Qatar’s Shura Council election, poses for a photograph subsequent to an election poster in Doha, Qatar September 30, 2021. REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari


By Lisa Barrington and Andrew Mills

DOHA (Reuters) – Voters selected not one of the 26 girls who stood for election in Qatar’s first legislative elections on Saturday, disappointing candidates who had needed to lend a voice for girls and different Qataris within the Gulf monarchy’s political course of.

The vote was for 30 members of the 45-seat advisory Shura Council whereas the emir will proceed to nominate the remaining 15 members of the physique that may approve a restricted scope of insurance policies for the small however rich nation, which bans political events.

“To have all males is just not the imaginative and prescient of Qatar,” stated Aisha Hamam al-Jasim, 59, a nursing supervisor who ran in Doha’s Markhiya district. She urged Qatari girls to start out “voicing what they imagine in” and vote for robust girls candidates in future.

“For the primary time in Qatar, that is the chance to participate within the political,” she stated as individuals trickled into the polls earlier on Saturday.

Jasim, like fellow feminine candidates, stated she had encountered some males who thought girls shouldn’t run. Highlighting her administrative expertise, she centered on coverage priorities like well being, youth employment and retirement.

“I simply say: I am robust, I am succesful. I see myself as match as a person … If you wish to see me as weak, that is as much as you, however I’m not weak,” she stated within the polling station the place women and men had separate entrances.

Whereas Qatar has launched reforms to girls’s rights lately, together with permitting girls to independently get a driving license, it has been criticised by rights teams for points just like the guardianship system, the place a girl wants male permission to marry, journey and entry reproductive healthcare.

Human Rights Watch in March stated that when in 2019 girls tweeted from an nameless account about Qatar’s guardianship system, the account shut down inside 24 hours after cyber safety officers summoned one girl.

Naima Abdulwahab al-Mutaawa’a, a candidate and international ministry employee whose aged mom got here to vote for her, had needed to press for a physique advocating for girls and youngsters.

A number of feminine candidates had been looking for to enhance the mixing into Qatari society of youngsters of feminine residents married to foreigners who, like in different Gulf states, can’t cross their Qatari nationality to their youngsters.

Qatar has one feminine minister: Public Well being Minister Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari.

Whereas Jasim stopped wanting advocating for granting passports, fellow candidate Leena al-Dafa known as for full citizenship for kids in such circumstances.

Dafa, a author, doesn’t see those that oppose girls within the Shura Council as an impediment as a result of the ruling emir – and the regulation – help feminine participation.

“The regulation offers me this proper … I do not care what aggressive individuals say about that,” she stated, including that girls have been greatest suited to debate their points.

Al-Maha al-Majid, a 34-year-old industrial engineer stood for election, alongside her insurance policies, to vary mindsets.

“To persuade the males (to vote for girls), sure, we could must put in work or additional effort … I am prepared to take this additional effort with a purpose to be in and to persuade this society that the ladies can accomplish that,” she stated.

For some, attitudes are onerous to shake.

Male candidate Sabaan Al Jassim, 65, helps girls standing in elections however stated their main function stays within the household.

“They’re right here, they’ve their fingerprint they usually have their vote and a voice … However most necessary is in the home, to maintain the youngsters with the households,” he stated at a polling station the place Jasim and Mutaawa’a sat throughout the room from him.

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