Qatari Women: Engagement and Empowerment

Jocelyn Mitchell, Christina Paschyn, Kirsten Pike, Tanya Kane
Ahoud Hamad Al-Thani, Alanood Al-Thani, Al Dana Al-Mesnad, Hind Hassan Alansari, Najlaa Saleh Al-Khulaifi, Nayla Al-Thani, Noor Khalifa Al-Tamimi, Reem Al-Kuwari, Reem Zubaidi, Sama Abduljawad, Tamador Al-Sulaiti, Sara Al-Thani, Alya Al Harthy, Rawda Al Thani & Muneera Al Thani

Collaborating Institutions and Faculty: Qatar University and Justin J. Gengler, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar and Sadia Mir

Funding: Qatar National Research Fund Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP)

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

In addition to scientific evidence that will fill a crucial gap in the social science literature, the audiovisual methodology of this project will provide context and nuance beyond the written word. Working with faculty mentors, students will produce a documentary film and a museum installation that are intended to engage large segments of Qatari and Arab society which is increasingly visually oriented. These audiovisual components will provide a powerful outreach to the global community through film and art festivals. This project will offer an alternative narrative to the outside world’s stereotypes and myths of women in the region. Further, it aligns with Qatar’s national vision and development goals for the economic and social empowerment of its female citizens.

Selected publications and creative work

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

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, Vol. 12, pp. 76–83.  

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

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

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 4.