‘I Am Not Weak’: Qatari Women Unsuccessful in First Legislative Elections | World News

By Lisa Barrington and Andrew Mills

DOHA (Reuters) – Voters selected not one of the 26 ladies who stood for election in Qatar’s first legislative elections on Saturday, disappointing candidates who had wished to lend a voice for ladies 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 shouldn’t be 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 ladies to begin “voicing what they imagine in” and vote for robust ladies 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.

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Jasim, like fellow feminine candidates, stated she had encountered some males who thought ladies mustn’t run. Highlighting her administrative abilities, she targeted 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 ladies’s rights in recent times, together with permitting ladies 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 ladies 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 overseas ministry employee whose aged mom got here to vote for her, had wished to press for a physique advocating for ladies and youngsters.

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

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

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

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

“The legislation provides me this proper … I do not care what aggressive individuals say about that,” she stated, including that ladies had 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 ladies), sure, we might should put in work or further effort … I am keen to take this further effort with the intention to be in and to persuade this society that the ladies can accomplish that,” she stated.

For some, attitudes are exhausting to shake.

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

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

(Writing by Lisa Barrington; Modifying by Sandra Maler)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters. | ‘I Am Not Weak’: Qatari Girls Unsuccessful in First Legislative Elections | World News

Aila Slisco

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