NU-Q Research

Qatari women: Engagement and empowerment

Project Description

This study aims to understand the drivers and obstacles of women’s empowerment in Qatar, through studying Qatari women directly through quantitative (survey) and qualitative (participant-observation ethnographic, audiovisual) methods. It focuses on female participation in “women’s gatherings” (majlis al-hareem) and its consequences for outward engagement.

Research findings are presented by both a documentary film and a museum installation, in order to engage as many citizens as possible. In addition, both forms of communicating the evidence found by the study is also used for reaching out to the global community through film and art festivals. This unique project is actively combatting the outside world’s stereotypes and myths of women in the region. It strongly aligns with Qatar’s national vision and development goals for the economic and social empowerment of its female citizens.


Jocelyn Sage Mitchell, Christina Paschyn, Kirsten Pike

Collaborating Institutions

Qatar University—SESRI (PI Justin Gengler), VCUArts Qatar (PI Sadia Mir), Texas A&M-Qatar (PI Tanya Kane)


Qatar National Research Fund - Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP 15-035-5-013)


Mitchell, J. S., and Gengler, J. J. (2019) “What Money Can’t Buy: Wealth, Inequality, and Economic Satisfaction in the Rentier State.” Political Research Quarterly 72 (1): 75–89.

Mir, S., and Paschyn, C. M. (2018). "Qatar’s Hidden Women: Symbolic Annihilation and Documentary Media Practice."Visual Communication Quarterly 25 (2): 93–105.

Pike, K. (2018). “Mediating the Majlis: Arab Girls’ Documentaries about ‘Women’s Gatherings’ in Qatar.” In Blue, M.G. and Kearney, M.C. (Eds.), Mediated Girlhoods: New Explorations of Girls’ Media Culture, Vol. 2, 193–211. New York: Peter Lang.

Gengler, J. J., and Mitchell, J. S. (2018). “A Hard Test of Individual Heterogeneity in Response Scale Usage: Evidence from Qatar International Journal of Public Opinion Research 30 (1): 102–124.

Monir, M. (2017) “Examining the Gender Gap: Where are the Educated Qatari Women in the Workforce?” Northwestern Undergraduate Research Journal 12: 78–85.

Al-Tamimi, N. K. (2016) “Qatari Women’s Engagement in Politics.” Qatar Foundation Annual Research Conference Proceedings, Volume 2016, Issue 1, doi:10.5339/qfarc.2016.SSHASP2414. [NU-Q press release, March 30, 2016, on Noor receiving a QF ARC award for her research]

Al Thani, N. (2016) “Majlis Participation and Influence.” Qatar Foundation Annual Research Conference Proceedings, Volume 2016, Issue 1, doi:10.5339/qfarc.2016.SSHASP2415.

Mitchell, J. S., Foley, S., Moritz, J., and Carvalho Pinto, V. (2016). “Space: Female Space: Arabian Peninsula.” In Joseph, S. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, Supplement 14.

Al Sulaiti, T. (2015, December). “Majlis Al Hareem: Part of Civil Society?” Northwestern Undergraduate Research Journal Online 2015–16. 

Al Khulaifi, N., Abduljawad, S., Al-Mesnad, D., Al-Thani, N., and Al-Thani, R. (2015, November). “Her Majlis.” FilmFest, Middle East Studies Association, Denver, CO. 

Kane, T., Paschyn, C., Mir, S., Hill, L., Abduljawad, S., Al-Khulaifi, N., Al-Kuwari, R., Al-Mazroei, R., Al-Mousawi, F., Al-Thani, J., Al-Thani, M., Hassan, A., and Ojjeh, Z. (2015, September–October). “Her Majlis” exhibition. Hamad bin Khalifa University Student Center Art Gallery, Education City, Doha, Qatar.

Mitchell, J. S., Paschyn, C., Mir, S., Pike, K., and Kane, T. (2015). "In majaalis al-hareem: The complex professional and personal choices of Qatari women.DIFI Family Research and Proceedings.


Nair, S. (2015). “Our Meeting Space.” Qatar Today Magazine. December. pp. 74–76.

Khouri, R. (2015). “Pioneering Qatari women transcend private, public spheres.” Agence Global. September 16.

D’mello, C. (2015). “New majlis exhibit highlights Qatari women’s participation in society.” Doha News. September 9.

Gulf Times. (2015). “NU-Q exhibition explores opinions of Qatari women.” September 7.

The Foundation Magazine. (2014). “Knowledge for Empowerment.” Issue 70, pp. 16–19.


Finalist, 8th Annual UREP Competition, for best UREP grant concluded in 2015, for the QNRF UREP grant, “Qatari Women: Engagement and Empowerment,” Qatar Foundation Annual Research Conference, Doha, Qatar, March 21–23, 2016. Top 6 out of 66 UREP projects overall.

Undergraduate student Noor Al-Tamimi received 2nd Place in the Student Poster Presentations in the Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities pillar, Qatar Foundation Annual Research Conference, March 21–23, 2016, for her presentation, “Where are the Qatari Women in Politics?

Doha International Family Institute (DIFI), “Best Paper Award,” May 2015, for the paper, “In Majaalis Al-Hareem: The Complex Professional and Personal Choices of Qatari Women,” presented at the DIFI Annual Conference on Family Research and Policy: The Arab Family in an Age of Transition: Challenges and Resilience, in the Role of State Policies on Family Formation and Stability pillar (link to presentation).

Qatar Foundation, Research and Development, “1st Prize Research Excellence Award,” November 2014, for the poster presentation, “Majaalis Al-Hareem in Qatar: Sites of Social and Political Engagement,” presented at the Qatar Foundation Annual Research Conference 2014 in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities pillar.

Northwestern University in Qatar “Unity Award,” May 2014, for the QNRF UREP grant, “Qatari Women: Engagement and Empowerment[see NU-Q 2016 Year in Review, p. 14].