National Day in Qatar really is something special. As a celebration of Sheikh Jassem bin Mohamed bin Thani’s succession as ruler and founder of the State of Qatar, it is an opportunity to celebrate those who have worked to make Qatar a great country. The slogan that was introduced last year, “We are all Qatar” also celebrates the diversity of the country, so it is also the perfect time to give a shout out to the brilliant women who have contributed to this and helped to shape Qatar over the years.
Since moving to Qatar it has been eye-opening for me to learn about the women that this country is home to. For example, the work of H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa as a Chairperson for arts and cultural institutions, such as Qatar Museums, is as inspiring as it is expansive. Having stepped away from her original career in the Foreign Service to pursue her passions, she has found a balance that many women seek: ‘…I found that working in the culture sector is the perfect bridge to combine my interests, and my priorities in bringing up my own children’ (Qatar Museums interview May 2014). Her contribution to Qatar’s cultural landscape alone is remarkable, but to have achieved it whilst taking care of a family is arguably even more so.
Life in Qatar affords all women, from all backgrounds, the opportunity to design their life around their needs and interests. The short film I Am a Qatari Woman from Doha Film Institute gives us a brief insight into this, giving a snapshot of the life of a regular Qatari woman. It is an example of a woman happily excelling as she lives, works and raises her children here.
Women are a vital component of Qatar’s vision of unity and growth. With more and more women running their own businesses, working freelance and taking ownership of their careers, they are shaping the future of this country. Organisations like Qatar Business Women Association, Roudha Centre and How Women Work collaborate to offer the women of Qatar extra support in achieving these ambitions. At HWW, a wide range of workshops serves to empower you to develop your career and to grow professionally in the areas that you are most passionate about.
This is my first year seeing the events and build up around National Day, and it is definitely an exciting time to be here! So let’s celebrate Qatar and all it has to offer us; how will you be getting involved this year?
by Alexandra Langston