Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gender Discrimination

A girl born in Qatar starts her journey of life with certain disadvantages due to the prevalence of gender discrimination in the region. Job opportunities for women in Qatar are diminishing diurnally. This phenomenon is not because women are less intelligent compared to men, but because of the mind set and culture of the country. The gender disparity might be reducing, but the stigma is still looming in quite a few institutions.

I came to know about a certain example of this type of gender discrimination in my Public Relations class. The institution in discussion was Qatar Olympic Committee. According to my professor, Qatari men covered all the managerial posts in the institution and all the women were given the title of “researcher” regardless of what they worked as. In such institutions, what we usually notice is that the male managers order their secretaries, or “researchers” in this case, to do most of the tasks. What’s worse is that the managers then later claim credit for the completed tasks.

We discussed sexism in class, also known as gender discrimination. It is the application of the belief that there are certain characteristics implicit to one's gender that indirectly affects one's abilities in unrelated areas (Wikipedia). The term sexism is usually used to describe discrimination against women, in the context of patriarchy.

From this specific example we see that men (maybe only a “man” can be a man-ager?) are unfairly appointed as General Managers and Executive Directors just because of their gender. Therefore, QOC can be considered a sexist or patriarchal institution. Qatar’s culture amplifies this social stigma to an extend, although, I have to admit, Her Highness Sheikha Mozah is an exception and will help tackle this stigma in the long run.

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