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Abstract

The past three generations of Qataris have witnessed unprecedented economic, social and cultural changes. The juxtaposition of economic growth and social conservatism causes many conflicts or gaps between traditional values and the opportunities offered by modernity; perhaps one of the most startling examples of this is the current generation of Qatari females who are attending university, preparing for professional fields, and still expected to fulfill traditional gender roles as wives and mothers, within the same time frame as their own mothers or grandmothers. Within a kinship or tribal society, where relationships are determined by exchanges between families, marriage is a symbolic institution as much as a social one; the exchange of partners is a private act that has public significance with socio-economic ramifications. Marriage is a way of maintaining and enforcing social order, particularly the behavior of women by patriarchal societies; therefore it is at the very heart of traditional society. This study examines whether the tertiary education of Qatari women in co-educational settings is impacting the institution of marriage within a patriarchal Arab society. Does the level of a woman's education hamper or enhance her marriage prospects? This question is particularly relevant given the goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030) which outlines human capacity building as central to the development of the nation and another example of the explicitly stated intentions of the State of Qatar in investing in a knowledge based economy. The research team has studied marriage practices from 2000-2012 through surveys, focus groups, interviews, and the analysis of marital documents to analyze the way attitudes towards educated women as prospective brides. Over 350 Qatari women from a variety of academic institutions in Qatar, including Hamad Bin Khalifa University branch campuses, Qatar University, College of the North Atlantic Qatar, and the Community College of Qatar were surveyed. 150 women from these institutions also participated in focus group interviews. The findings interpret the broader social ramification of balancing the education of women within the expectations of traditional gender roles during state-building.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qfarc.2014.SSOP0275
2014-11-18
2019-12-16
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http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/papers/10.5339/qfarc.2014.SSOP0275
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