40 Some protection from domestic violence is provided by social networks rather than by law. Notably the tendency toward family endogamy (a cul- tural preference for marriage between cousins) offers some protection to women because an abuser married to his cousin would have to answer to his wife’s parents, who are members of the same clan and may come to her defense. As family standing is critical to economic and social access and success in Qatar, this pressure can be formidable. There are few, if any, independent, nongovernmental women’s rights groups working on domestic violence or immigrant women’s rights issues in Qatar, and no organizations of female lawyers or independent legal aid groups operate in the country. Recommendations F The government should criminalize domestic violence and take effec- tive measures to prosecute offenders and protect victims by, among other things, increasing police and medical training to recognize and intervene where abuse is evident, continuing to conduct workshops and seminar series intended to help society overcome its reluctance to address the issue, and providing shelter and economic aid to victims of domestic abuse and their dependent children. F The government should rescind the law requiring a male guardian’s permission for a woman to obtain a driver’s license and abolish rules that may prohibit women from travelling freely. F The government should deepen its commitment to fighting human trafficking by establishing more severe punishments for violators and by more strictly enforcing existing labor laws. F To further understand the extent to which trafficking is an issue and how to allocate its resources better, the government should collect gender-disaggregated data regarding how many people are trafficked
14 WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA This report is a chapter in Women’s Rights in the Middle East and North Africa: Progress Amid Resistance , ed. Sanja Kelly and Julia Breslin (New York, NY: Freedom House; Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010), available in paperback, as a CD-ROM, and online at . each year, their countries of origin, and their intended role and alleged treatment while residing in Qatar. F Child custody should not be allocated based on the age and sex of the children. Instead, each case should be decided based on the best inter- ests of the children in light of the individual parent’s ability to provide care for them. ECONOMIC RIGHTS AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY Despite fluctuating oil prices, Qatar has experienced unprecedented eco- nomic growth since the discovery of oil in the 1940s and has become per capita one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Women’s economic rights and academic opportunities have also increased in recent years as more women pursue university education and seek employment outside the home. The education system is undergoing extensive reform, and courses are being offered for women that reflect the actual market demands for labor. As a result, women are increasingly encouraged to enter fields
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- Fall '13