Gender Gap Index[1]

Gender Gap Index 2014
Overall Economic Participation Political Empowerment Educational Attainment
Rank Score Rank Score Rank Score Rank Score
116 0.640 101 0.620 140 0.013 94 0.976
(Rank: out of 142 countries) (Score: 0.00 = inequality, 1.00 = equality)


Family Code/ Personal Status Law

  • Family law was codified in 2006 with the introduction of the Family Act, which applies to all Muslims in Qatar, regardless of nationality.
  • Family law and personal status matters continue to be adjudicated in religious courts, which tend to discriminate against women


  • Article 17 of the 2006 Family Act states the minimum legal age of marriage is 18 for males and 16 for females. Exceptions can be made if consent of both the woman's guardian and a judge is given.
  • Date from 2010 reported by the UN indicates that 9.8% of girls aged 15-19 were married
  • Men are the de facto legal guardians of children


  • Men have the right to unilateral divorce, but women's rights to divorce are restricted; a woman must be able to prove to a court that their husband has failed to uphold his marital duties
  • In cases of divorce men retain legal guardianship but Muslim women are favoured for physical custody of young children

Resources and Assets

  • Women and men who are Qatari citizens have the same rights to own and manage land and non-land assets
  • Law No. 40 of 2004 provides that Qatari men and women have the same rights over their individual incomes.
  • There are no legal restrictions to women's access to financial services, including credit or rights to conclude business contracts. Although increasing numbers of Qatari women are entering the business sector, many businesswomen operate through male intermediaries.
  • Inheritance rights in Qatar are governed by Shari'ah law, which allows women to inherit half what a similarly situated male relative would receive.


  • Under the Labour Code, women have the right to equal pay for equal work and equal access to training and promotion opportunities. In practice, according to the Qatari National Human Rights Committee, employers consistently disregard the principle of equal pay, particularly in regard to the allocation of benefits and bonuses.
  • Under the Human Resources Management Act of 2009, which applies to public sector employees, the wage payable to a married person is more than the wage of a single person or the spouse who is not the head of household. In principle, the law does not discriminate by gender; however, men may more often be deemed the head of household.
  • Labour legislation prohibits women from undertaking work considered to be dangerous or arduous, or that could damage their health or morals, and only allows women to work at night with special permission from the Minister of Labour.
  • Women in Qatar are entitled to 50 days paid maternity leave and to take one-hour breaks for breastfeeding every day for one year. A woman may not be dismissed for marrying or taking maternity leave.
  • The domestic workers who form the bulk of Qatar's female migrant population have limited awareness of or access to rights and justice. This means that they are effectively without protection in cases where they are experiencing abuse, including sexual abuse.


  • Sexual harassment is criminalized under Article 291 of the Criminal Code (2004), which prohibits directing offensive remarks, sounds, or gestures at a woman; displaying offensive material in the sight of a woman in order to catch her attention; or invading a woman's privacy.
  • There are no specific laws in place to protect women from domestic violence, although since the mid-2000s, government representatives have started speaking out openly against domestic violence, which was previously considered a taboo topic.
  • Also, the Family Code (2006) states that a woman has the right to be free from physical and mental harm at the hands of her husband.
  • NGOs have reported that female genital mutilation (FGM) is practiced in Qatar.
  • No law prohibiting this practice was located in the OECD Gender Index.

Political Participation

Women's Political Participation Year Total Source
Number of women in parliament (single/lower house) 2014 0/35 IPU database
% of women in parliament 2014 0%
Legislated quotas for women for single/ lower house (yes/no) 2014 NO The Quota Project database


  • Gender-based discrimination is prohibited at Article 35 of the emirate’s constitution.
  • Women and men have the same right to vote and run for office in the Central Municipal Council (CMC) in Qatar since 1999.


  • There are no quotas in place to facilitate women's political participation.


  • In the unicameral Majilis Al-Shura/ Advisory Council there are 0/35 female representatives (appointed by the Emir)
  • The only woman to have ever served on the CMC—and the first to win an election in a Gulf country—ran unopposed in her district in 2003 after her male opponent withdrew. She was subsequently re-elected in 2007 and 2011.
  • The CMC has no policy making power. It advises the Minister of Municipal Affairs on issues such as trash collection, street repair, and other public works.
  • Recent years have seen the appointment of women to several key decision-making posts, such as Ministers of Education and Health, President of Qatar University, President of the SCFA, General Authority for Museums, and ambassador to the UN mission in Geneva


  • Overall, the media environment is restricted, with little consideration of sensitive social issues – including gender issues – in local media, although Qatar-based Al-Jazeera does occasionally covers features on women's rights.
  • However, Qatari media voiced support for women's political participation in the 1999 elections, and 45% of voters were women.

CEDAW and reservations[7]

  • Qatar ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women in 2009, with reservations to the following articles (2, 9, 15, and 16):
  • Article 2 (equality between men and women); Article 9 (right to nationality); Article 15 (equality before the law); Article 16 (equality in marriage, family relations, divorce, guardianship of children).
  • These reservations were made on the basis that the articles were inconsistent with the constitution and with Shari’ah law

Economic Empowerment[8]

Women's Economic Participation Year Total Source
Labour Force Participation
Ratio of female to male labour force participation 2014 0.54 World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2014
Labour force participation, female (% of total labour force) 2012 11.6% World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank
Labour force participation, female (% of female population 15-64) 2012 51.8%
Labour force participation, male (% of male population 15-64) 2012 96%
Youth Employment
Ratio of female to male youth unemployment rate (% aged 15-24) 2012 2079.9% World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank
Unemployment, female (% of female labour force) 2014 2.8% World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2014
Unemployment, male (% of male labour force) 2014 0.1%
Unemployment, total (% of total labour force) 2012 0.5% World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank
Sectors of Work
Agriculture (% of female employment) 2012 0% World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank
Agriculture (% of male employment) 2012 1.5%
Women employed in non-agricultural sector (% of total non-agricultural employment) 2014 12% World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2014
Industry (% of female employment) 2012 4.3% World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank
Industry (% of male employment) 2012 58.6%
Services (% of female employment) 2012 95.7%
Services (% of male employment) 2012 39.8%


  • Although the participation of Qatari women in the labour force has increased in recent years, they earn on average 69% of men’s wages, and are more than twice as likely as men to be unemployed.

Boards and Upper Management

  • As with the case of political leadership, woman in Qatar are poorly represented in positions of economic power, comprising less than 2% of board members. (OECD Gender Index)

Sectors of Work

  • A woman was granted a license to practice law for the first time in 2000.
  • Women tend to be concentrated in teaching and clerical jobs.
  • Some workplaces are sex-segregated

[1] World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2014:
[2] All information on legislation has been sourced from the OECD Social Institutions and Gender Index, 2014: Unless stated otherwise.
[8] All information on economic empowerment has been sourced from the World Bank Gender Statistics Data Bank: Unless stated otherwise.