Local politics: examining the political participation of Qatari women in the central municipal council elections
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Qatar embarked on a political progressive reform path with the announcement of Central Municipal Council elections in 1999, granting universal suffrage in the same year. The participation of Qatari women since then has be underwhelming, with the presence of only two females in the Central Municipal Council as of 2015. The main purpose of this thesis was to explore and examine Qatari women's formal political participation through the Central Municipal Council, by employing theoretical, analytical, and empirical components found within existent literature, as well as interactions with Qatari women. The main research questions included: How has the formal political engagement of Qatari women changed within the Qatari society? What are Qatari female‟s perspectives on CMC elections, on CMC the institutional framework and to what extent has it affected their formal political participation? What and how are the challenges and opportunities interconnected within this formal participation? To what extent have different barriers accounted for low Qatari women‟s formal political participation? What challenges remain for Qatari women today ahead of the anticipated Consultative Council elections? The thesis takes into consideration the existent literature, as well as employing quantitative and qualitative methods through a survey among Qatari females and an interview with Shaikha Al Jufairi. The thesis concludes that Qatari females' low political participation can be attributed to the institutional framework of the Council, social/family barriers, of which more government support and initiatives are needed to address and counter it.
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