Women in Qatar can now join the army
The Emir of Qatar has signed a decree to provide voluntary recruitment for women and to extend the length of compulsory military service for conscripts from three months to one year.
According to a report by the Qatari News Agency, the decree signed by Qatari leader Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani requires men aged between 18 to 35, regardless of their education, to serve in the military for one year.
Under the previous legislation, Qatari men who hold a four-year university degree could complete the military service within three months while those without such a degree had to attend for four months.
The new decision also states that who refuse to participate in military service without an excuse can face imprisonment of one month to a year or a fine between 13,700 to 82,400 U.S. dollars.
The decision came at a time of strained ties between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors over its close ties to Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran and accusations that it supports terror groups, an allegation Doha vehemently denies.
Women aged over 18 will be able to volunteer for national service under the law, which comes into immediate affect. According to the report, National service for females is voluntary. It is the first time women are being allowed to undertake national service, although some women already serve in the military in administrative roles.
It is not yet known what roles those women volunteering for national service would undertake. The decision to extend the rules surrounding conscription, first introduced in November 2013, comes with Qatar at the centre of deepening diplomatic Gulf crisis.
When it comes to gender equality in Qatar, the country is one of the most unequal societies in the world when it comes to gender, according to a new index.
The country ranked 117th out of 122 nations listed in business school INSEAD’s Gender Progress Index 2017which was released this month. That puts Qatar behind all of its Gulf peers.
While Qatar’s women are statistically more engaged in university education, the under-performance of their male peers lowered the country’s score.
There have been some notable Qatar women in politics. Women in Qatar vote and may run for public office. Qatar enfranchised women at the same time as men in connection with the 1999 elections for a Central Municipal Council.These elections which were the first ever in Qatar were deliberately held on 8 March 1999, International Women’s Day.
In 1999, Mouza Al Malki became the first female candidate in the GCC to contest a municipal election. Shiekha Yousuf Hasan Al Jufairi became the first female to hold a municipal position when she won the Central Municipal Council (CMC) elections for the Airport constituency in 2003.
Qatar appointed its first female cabinet minister in 2003, when Shieka Ahmed al-Mahmoud was named as Minister of Education. Two women were simultaneously elected to the CMC for the first time in 2015.