The Patriarchal Bargain in a Context of Rapid Changes to Normative Gender Roles: Young Arab Women’s Role Conflict in Qatar
- 1.5k Downloads
Social norms in patriarchal countries in the Middle East are changing at differing rates. In Qatar, expectations about education have shifted, and women’s participation in higher education is normative. However, women’s participation in the workforce remains relatively low, and women still are expected to perform all household and child-rearing activities. Interviews with 27 18–25 year-old Qatari women enrolled in college in Qatar are used to illustrate the conflict between norms about education, workforce, and family. Many young women resolve this normative conflict by giving preference to family over work and education. Other women hold conflicting norms and goals for their future without acknowledging the normative conflict. Overall, young women in this sample feared divorce, were uncertain about customary family safety nets, and thus desired financial independence so they would be able to support themselves if they were left alone later in life due to divorce, or the death of their husband. The Qatari government should revisit the appropriateness of continuing to emphasize the patriarchal family structure and socially conservative family norms, if they desire to advance women in their society.
KeywordsEmerging adulthood Islam Middle East Patriarchy Qualitative research Sex roles Social norms Transition to adulthood
Compliance with Ethical Standards
This research was approved by the IRB’s at collaborating institutions: Emory University, University of Toronto, and Qatar University. This paper is not under consideration elsewhere and has been prepared in accordance with instructions for submission to your journal. The material included in this manuscript has not been published or presented in any other format or context. There are no known conflicts of interest. Informed consent was obtained from all participants in accordance with IRB standards at the participating institutions.
Funding for this research was provided by the Qatar National Research Foundation (QNRF) grant NPRP-5, Hanan Abdul Rahim and Kathryn Yount, principal investigators. The authors would like to thank Hanan Abdul Rahim, Rania Salem, and Monique Hennink for their comments on this manuscript.
- Abu-Lughod, L. (2006). The debate about gender, religion, and rights: Thoughts of a Middle East anthropologist. PMLA, 121, 1621–1630.Google Scholar
- Al-Muhannadi, H. S. (2011). The role of Qatari women: Between tribalism & modernity (Unpublished master’s thesis). Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon.Google Scholar
- Altbach, P. G., Reisberg, L., & Rumbley, L. E. (2009). Trends in global higher education: Tracking an academic revolution. Paris, France: UNESCO.Google Scholar
- Alvi, H. (2005). The human rights of women and social transformation in the Arab Middle East. Middle East, 9, 142–160. http://www.rubincenter.org/meria/2005/06/Alvi%20Hayat%20pdf.pdf.
- Bahry, L., & Marr, P. (2005). Qatari women: A new generation of leaders? Middle East Policy, 12, 104–119. doi: 10.1111/j.1061-1924.2005.00205.x.
- Baki, R. (2004). Gender-segregated education in Saudi Arabia: Its impact on social norms and the Saudi labor market. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 12, 1–15. doi: 10.14507/epaa.v12n28.2004.
- Charmaz, K. (2014). Constructing grounded theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Cherif, F. M. (2010). Culture, rights, and norms: Women’s rights reform in Muslim countries. Journal of Politics, 72, 1144–1160. doi: 10.1017/s0022381610000587.
- Crabtree, S. A. (2007). Culture, gender and the influence of social change amongst Emirati families in the United Arab Emirates. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 38, 575–587.Google Scholar
- El-Haddad, Y. (2003). Major trends affecting families in the Gulf countries. In Programme on the Family, Major Trends Affecting Families: A Background Document (pp. 222–234). New York: United Nations. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/family/Publications/mtrendsbg.htm.
- El Saadawi, N. (2007). The hidden face of Eve: Women in the Arab world. Zed Books.Google Scholar
- Forstenlechner, I., & Rutledge, E. (2010). Unemployment in the gulf: Time to update the “social contract.” Middle East Policy, 17, 38–51. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4967.2010.00437.x.
- Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. Chicago, IL: Aldine.Google Scholar
- Golkowska, K. U. (2014). Arab women in the gulf and the narrative of change: The case of Qatar. International Studies. Interdisciplinary Political and Cultural Journal, 16, 51–64. https://www.degruyter.com/downloadpdf/j/ipcj.2014.16.issue-1/ipcj-2014-0004/ipcj-2014-0004.xml.
- Hasso, F. (2010). Consuming desires: Family crisis and the state in the Middle East. Standford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Jakobsen, M. (2010). Social effects of the educational revolution in Qatar: A gender perspective (Unpublished master’s thesis). University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.Google Scholar
- Kabeer, N., & Natali, L. (2013). Gender equality and economic growth: Is there a win-win? IDS Working Papers, 2013(417), 1–58. doi: 10.1111/j.2040-0209.2013.00417.x.
- Kamau, N. (2004). Outsiders within: Experience of Kenyan women in higher education. Jenda: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies, 6, 1–26. Retrieved fromhttp://www.africaknowledgeproject.org/index.php/jenda/article/view/105.
- Kandiyoti, D. (2001). The politics of gender and the conundrums of citizenship. In S. Joseph & S. Slyomovics (Eds.), Women and power in the Middle East (pp. 52–58). Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
- Kandiyoti, D. (2007). Between the hammer and the anvil: Post-conflict reconstruction, Islam and women's rights. Third World Quarterly, 28, 503–517. doi: 10.1080/01436590701192603.
- Kapiszewski, A. (2006). Arab versus Asian migrant workers in the GCC countries. In C. Prakash & G. Z. Oommen (Eds.), South Asian migration to Gulf countries: History, policies, development (pp. 46–70). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Kemp, L. J. (2013). Progress in female education and employment in the United Arab Emirates towards millennium development goal (3): Gender equality. Foresight, 15, 264–277. doi: 10.1108/fs-02-2012-0007.
- Lim, I. (1997). Korean immigrant women’s challenge to gender inequality at home: The interplay of economic resources, gender, and family. Gender and Society, 11, 31–51. doi: 10.1177/089124397011001003.
- Matar, D. (2007). Heya TV: A feminist counterpublic for Arab women? Comparative Studies of South Asia and the Middle East, 27, 513–524. doi: 10.1215/1089201x-2007-030.
- Mernissi, F. (1987). Beyond the veil: Male–female dynamics in modern Muslim society (Vol. 423). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
- Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics. (2015). Marriage and divorce in the state of Qatar, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.gsdp.gov.qa/portal/page/portal/gsdp_en/knowledge_center/Publications/Tab4/Analytical_Summary_Marriage_Divorce_MDPS_En_2014.pdf.
- Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics. (2002). Sample Labor Force Survey, 2001. Retrieved from http://www.qix.gov.qa/portal/page/portal/QIXPOC/Documents/QIX%20Knowledge%20Base/Publication/Labor%20Force%20Researches/labor%20force%20sample%20survey/Source_QSA/Labour_Force_QSA_Bu_AE_2001.pdf.
- Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics. (2014). Vital statistics, annual bulletin: Marriages and divorces 2013. Doha, Qatar: Publisher. http://gccstat.org/en/elibrary/publications/qatar/item/vital-statistics-annual-bulletin-marriage-and-divorce-2013.
- Ministry of Education. (2016). Education regarding Sheikhan rights and fundamental freedoms in the State of Qatar. Retrieved from http://www.hurights.or.jp/pub/hreas/11/06HRE%20in%20Schools%20-%20Qatar.pdf.
- Moghadam, V. M. (2003). Engendering citizenship, feminizing civil society: The case of the Middle East and North Africa. Women & Politics, 25, 63–87. doi: 10.1080/1554477x.2003.9971010.
- Moghadam, V. M. (2005). Gender and social policy: Family law and women’s economic citizenship in the Middle East. International Review of Public Administration, 10, 23–44. doi: 10.1080/12294659.2005.10805059.
- Moghadam, V. M. (2013). Modernizing women: Gender and social change in the Middle East (3rd ed.). Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.Google Scholar
- Newsom, V. A., & Lengel, L. (2012). Arab women, social media, and the Arab Spring: Applying the framework of digital reflexitivity to analyze gender and online activism. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 13, 31–45.Google Scholar
- Qatar General Secretariat for Development Planning. (2011a). Qatar national development strategy, 2011–2016. Doha, Qatar: Qatar General Secretariat for Development Planning.Google Scholar
- Qatar General Secretariat for Development Planning. (2011b). Qatar national development strategy: Towards Qatar national vision 2030. Doha Qatar: Gulf Publishing and Printing Company.Google Scholar
- Qatar University. (2016). Institutional Research Department Office of Institutional Planning and Development, Semester analysis spring 2016. Not publically available.Google Scholar
- QSR International Pty Ltd. (2015). NVivo qualitative data analysis Software, Version 11.Google Scholar
- Rashad, H., Osman, M., & Roudi-Fahimi, F. (2005). Marriage in the Arab world. Washington DC: Population Reference Bureau. Retrieved fromhttp://www.prb.org/pdf05/MarriageInArabWorld_Eng.pdf.
- Rutledge, E., Madi, M., & Forstenlechner, I. (2014). Parental influence on female vocational decisions in the Arabian Gulf. Germany:University Library of Munich.Google Scholar
- Salem, R. (2011). Women's economic resources and bargaining in marriage: Does Egyptian women's status depend on earnings or marriage payments? Population Council. Retrieved from: http://www.prb.org/PopPov_Home/Publications-and-Multimedia/2011/Womens-Economic-Resources-and-Bargaining-in-Marriage-Does-Egyptian-Womens-Status-Depend-on-Earnings.aspx.
- Sharabi, H. (1988). Neopatriarchy: A theory of distorted change in Arab society. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Shehzad, S. (2015). Socioeconomic, demographic, housing and health conditions of Qatari women by status of marriage and implications for family policies. DIFI Family Research and Proceedings, 9. Retrieved from http://www.qscience.com/doi/pdf/10.5339/difi.2015.9.
- Stromquist, N. (1992). Feminist reflections in politics of the Peruvian university. In N. Stromquist (Ed.), Women and education in Latin America: Knowledge, power, and change (pp. 147–167). Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.Google Scholar
- Thao, V. T., & Agergaard, J. (2012). “Doing family:” Female migrants and family transition in rural Vietnam. Asian Population Studies, 8, 103–119. doi: 10.1080/17441730.2012.646845.
- Welchman, L. (2010). Bahrain, Qatar, UAE: First time family law codifications in three Gulf States. In B. Atkin (Ed.), International survey of family law (pp. 163–178). Bristol, UK: Jordan Publishing.Google Scholar
- Williams, A., Wallis, J., & Williams, P. (2013). Emirati women and public sector employment: The implicit patriarchal bargain. International Journal of Public Administration, 36, 137–149. doi: 10.1080/01900692.2012.721438.