Hi everyone, I'm an American female (Arabic speaker) and was given a very good contract/ salary to work in Doha. I'm doing a lot of research on living/moving to Qatar and have found a disturbing website with very strong negative opinions about moving to the country. But reading many of the messages here I see a lot of positive experiences being shared. My question is how are professional educated American women treated/viewed in the work place. My family (hubby and kids will not be joining me for about 6 months until school's out), what will be the worst thing to deal with, what's the best? Thank you all for this great site/forum.
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Sorry for being "conspicuous" with my absence, great discussion, and thank you all for the replies. I will be making an informed decision and this discussion helps a lot. Violence against women is a sad part of our existence as humans, as women we just have to be very vigilant and careful, no matter which country/culture or society.
mohdata - I doubt if we scared her off - your quoting of the stats in the US and the rest of the Western world are no doubt familiar to her already. But she should be aware that the law here views women who have been assaulted very differently than in the West (I'm not saying it's right or wrong, it's the way it is now) and she should be aware of THAT fact.
She said she had been frightened by what she had read about Qatar - I'd be frightened about the stats you quoted - but at least I'd make an informed decision.
I should have added that IF an assault is reported and IF the assailant is found guilty the penalties are much worse for him than in the West. However, such cases are few and far between.
This is a country where more than 50% of the male population are here without their wives - and many come from countries where women are not treated equally socially or under the law.
Do I feel vulnerable?
Not really, but I'm a middle aged white Western woman - in a situation where someone of colour assaults me - I "automatically" have more credibility just with those 3 criteria. She as a woman of Arab extraction might not. She should be well informed - I do not believe she is any real danger (unless she does something really stupid) but she needs to be aware - as do all women no matter where they live/work.
you haven't said a thing i don't completely agree with..yes Qataris are a private bunch and we're not dining with them anytime soon (although that happens more often than we'd think) ..they used to and still build walls around their homes so even other locals couldn't see in..embrace the culture as in accept it as their way of life and try to fit into the system instead of trying to make it fit you..it's like this conservative friend i had in the UK who constantly moaned about the 'pub culture' and prevalent promiscuity..made me wonder why he didn't just leave..
of course violence against women exists..where doesn't it?..UN stats say 10 women are raped every hour in the US, 230/day in the UK and this is just the reported ones..domestic/sexual violence happens here too..i just re-assured the lady and said since she's not married to one of the less kind locals, that aspect of safety did not apply to her..the stigma applies everywhere..only 40% of rapes are reported in the US for instance; i'd imagine something was stopping the other 60% from reporting don't you think?
look guys; i'm not trying to uphold qatar as this wonderful haven or bash the US/UK as stinkpots..just trying to have some perspective that's all..I'm Indian and have no partiality/disdain for any country..have great and not so great memories from everywhere but prefer to appreciate the good than dwell on the bad..
and the whole point is: the lady can expect to have a reasonably safe experience and we should not add to her fear and doubt about coming down. Although I must say she's been conspicuous by her absence since her original post. You guys scared her off haha.
If you are not Qatari by birth or marriage it is highly unlikely you will be able to "embrace the culture" - you will probably not be invited into it.
You will be more likely to be be invited into other Gulf Arab circles of friends and that is all good. There are lots of lovely ladies here from the MENA region.
Be aware (and it is extremely unlikely to experience it, to the 99.99999% percentile that violence against women here occurs and it is extremely unlikely it is reported and even more unlikely to be prosecuted or followed up on by legal officials - that's what it is. What can be officially reported by various news agencies can only be based on reported cases - they are few and far between in the GCC because of the stigma - much like paedophelia - which also happens here but is even less likely to be prosecuted officially - if it is even reported.
1) read it in the papers not too long ago..based on actual physical security of life and limb..behind only Iceland and Finland.
2) driving is an inherently risky activity; more so in qatar..my suggestion only addresses 'what you can do about it'
4) again, i say 'muslim women' and 'west'; but am addressing the restrictions relative to local customs. Some societies are uncomfortable with hijab and some with show of skin. i say respect the local customs and accordingly get out of France if you won't let go of your hijab and leave Qatar if you think hijab is wrong. Separately, see this link for an idea of how prevalent anti-hijab sentiment GENERALLY is. Although yes I do agree most of those instances don't specifically target hijab.
I've been in the US/UK a long time, had a great time and feel that there's extremists both in Qatar and other places.
5) You missed the apparent 'tongue in cheek' nature of my comment. I do realise there's more than one horror story of expats going through hell at work and harbor no illusions to the contrary. However, it's no reason to deter from trying to make a living here. You and me are here despite it all aren't we?
7) Again, embrace the culture WHILE you're here. Just like with a loved one; you do it despite the possibility of them dumping you tomorrow.
I'm not out to change anyone's mind. Been unjustly abused and put into cop cars myself but I refuse to take it out of context. It all depends on perspective. The lady asked for input and we all gave her our individual subjective opinions. Take care and may we all a great time here and everywhere we go.
You are welcome , you and your family will enjoyed , Only think about good school fot them, for you don't worry you can manage your life at coming 6 months with NO PROBLEM.
As a clarification on sex crimes against women, most go unreported as usually the assailant claims it was consensual, therefore the police treat it as adultery (a crime) and in 9 out of 10 cases the man goes free while the woman is convicted of adultery. Depending on her passport she may be sentenced to lashes and jailtime. Doctors are required by law to report cases that present themselves as sex crimes.
Most women here, if not married especially, know they should get on a plane and get out of the region for treatment and care if needed in such instances (and if they don't they are naive).
Asian women are more likely to suffer in silence because of the above.
Qatar is safe... n only one advice: IGNORE ppl staring at u................ as STARING (by strangers) is the most prominent complaint by ladies in Qatar... no other worries.. just b happy ... ALL THE BEST
It's a challenge. If you find the 'right' way, it's fun.
3) Crimes against women of a sexual nature are very seriously taken and thus virtually non-existent. Domestic abuse does exist but doesn't apply to you. No, the police will not take you seriously if you are attacked. 9 times out of 10 they will find a way to blame you. Be more wary here than you would be at home.
I wonder if we're not focusing on the wrong things. Certainly Qatar is a pleasant place to live but the work ethos is very different from the US. There's no EEOC, no disability act, no real recourse for labor disputes. Most expats live with the understanding that we could be on the midnight flight with only broken dreams at essentially any point (not common, mind you, just possible, and we all know someone to whom this happened.) US expats are known to say that it takes three times more effort to run an errand thatn we're used to and I think we all have forgotten/become acclimatized to the constant low-level feeling of tension/anxiety that we live with. Not that it isn't a wonderful adventure - it is - but it's not all wine and roses - ooops, I forgot, no wine!Mandi
Mohdata - and these are my 2 cents about what you wrote:
1) Among the top 5 safest countries - please quote our source and what is it based on?
2) About the crazy driving, try to fit into the system and not make it fit you; a balance of defensive driving and 'turbo' mode as needed should keep you safe - no amount of defensive/aggressive driving will keep you safe on these roads, the stats prove otherwise - ie road deaths per 100,000 are 830% higher than the UK
4) Muslim women are banned from covering up in the West so it's only appropriate you respect the local customs of. Casual western attire is perfectly fine; just don't go to the mall in swimwear; awkward even in the West - factually completely incorrect, only one country in the west has so far banned this outright. In fact alot of western countries have bent over backwards to recognize peoples cultural and religious differences.
6) You should be sorted at work; the Arabs have Westerners down as knowing their stuff even if they don't haha and you will be given due respect/consideration by dint of the same as well as being a woman. - a bit of a blanket statement - I assume from this that you know all western working people in qatar which qualifies you to make such a broad/sweeping comment?
7)One person's heaven is another's hell so it all depends on how well adjusted one is. I've been the world over but love Qatar the best. Embrace the culture and it will reciprocate - Nah, you can embrace the culture all you like but once your job is finished they just want you gone, plain and simple, why do you think people's rp's get cancelled at the speed of light and you are put on the next plane home
Read more: http://www.qatarliving.com/node/2156752#ixzz1ZznEsDdb
having grown up here, my two cents:1) Among the top 5 safest countries 2) About the crazy driving, try to fit into the system and not make it fit you; a balance of defensive driving and 'turbo' mode as needed should keep you safe.3) Crimes against women of a sexual nature are very seriously taken and thus virtually non-existent. Domestic abuse does exist but doesn't apply to you. 4) Muslim women are banned from covering up in the West so it's only appropriate you respect the local customs of. Casual western attire is perfectly fine; just don't go to the mall in swimwear; awkward even in the West.5) To enjoy Qatar, you just need good company/friends. The mall culture is rampant here too plus all sorts of cultural intellect/history to explore plus year round sunshine/beaches. Numerous watering holes in the hotels/you can get a liquor permit for home too..DON"T DRINK DRIVE6) You should be sorted at work; the Arabs have Westerners down as knowing their stuff even if they don't haha and you will be given due respect/consideration by dint of the same as well as being a woman. 7) One person's heaven is another's hell so it all depends on how well adjusted one is. I've been the world over but love Qatar the best. Embrace the culture and it will reciprocate.
As a female by yourself you'll have to get used to the incessant staring, and I would warn you not to talk to any men that you don't know, or make eye contact with them, as they may take it as an invitation. Be aware when walking alone at night, and don't assume that a man is being nice to you for niceness sake. Otherwise, Qatar is pretty safe.
my apologies jjj75,i didnt know that Qatar has the highest rate when it comes to road accident, i was just answering the OP question with regards to how safe for her to be treated in a workplace.
VXfarm - yes road accidents do happen in every country where there are vehicles on the road but to say categorically that Qatar is the safest country in the world does not take into account the high death/serious injury rates in this country- therefore you are less safe on the roads here than in most other countries:
an example is UK has 3.59 road deaths per 100,000 Qatar has 23.7
yeah but i believe it is everywhere in the world...were idiots learn how to drive... hahahaha... peace...just be safe while driving...
ruby - I would like to qualify your comment, in some respects it is much safer than many other countries, certainly in terms of crime. However, Qatar has one of the highest accident/road deaths per capital than any other country in the world.
its much safer here than any other country, the locals are friendly and some of them are helpful.
shes been looking at qatar sucks I shouldn't wonder. don't worry, you won't be able to view that here as it is blocked so you can put all your fears to rest.
Don't think too much, If there is something good, there will be something bad as well. Its always the case.I am working in US based company, out of 150 employees we have around 50% expat females all from USA/CANADA/UK/INDIA.They all are happy ( at least sound happy when we talk to them), well respected.Don't read the negative anti Qatari web sites, Qatar Living, www.iloveqatar.net, www.justlanded.com, www.internations.org sites will give you more ideas. At Inter nations you can find US community and meet people from US and ask they opinions.Its a Islamic State, ne must obey the laws they have set out.Good Luck
I must be associating with the wrong kinds then :-P
Now now Colt45, don't under-estimate the women in Qatar ;)
The only thing that sucks here in Qatar is the summer, but hey, if you know how to beat the heat, then all's good ;-)
So you discovered qatarsucks.com?
Don't be scared. Qatar is safe!http://qatarliving.com/node/2156440
There are lot of things we QLers may suggest. But if you want bottom line.... WELCOME to Qatar. Safety wise perfect.
On the contrary to your reading expereince, you will find, American, Arabic, Europeans has most respect in work environement here in Qatar, for others it depends on their personality to achieve respect (LOL),
I assume u r arabic decendent now living in America.
But wait wait, if u hv specific things in mind let us know for clarification... There are some "not nice" things also abt Qatar (as every country has). Fun wise, social wise, outing wise their will be very limited opportunity.
Hence in Qatar, be happy with work, family and friends if any.
Well said Marycatherine.Don't judge Qatar just by reading some anti Qatar websites. Qatar is a very safe place and much more safer than US for Educated single/married professional ladies.Good luck with your decision.
I would suggest you do a search for legitimate writings about Qatar (say newspapers and magazines), look at the US Government website cia.org for their assessment of the country etc.
Qatar is safe enough, you won't have any problems (except for the usual culture shock which everyone experiences to one degree or another) - there are 1000s of women working here.
Stop watching Fox News if you haven't already done so - they have such a skewed view on nearly everything that it would be laughable if it weren't so misleading and possibly damaging.
Do not equate everything you read or hear or see about the Middle East with Qatar - I've had people tell me I must be crazy to live here because of the problems in Syria, previous fighting in Lebanon, the Iraqi and Iranian issues, etc. etc. etc. - It's like saying don't go to the US at all based on crime rates in Detroit.
SONEW - you sound like a rather silly person. you will be safer here than in your home country where more people are locked up per head of pop than any other country. Paranoid over reaction US aggression in the world??? Well wh what do you expect??
where did you get such a disturbing info about Qatar?
Don't worry, you will be quite comfortable here. Bring your family and enjoy yourself living here. You just need to remember its an Islamic state and the laws are different to what you are probably used to.