On Thursday, Qatar’s royal decree announced 28 new members were appointed for the country’s Shura Council. Four of those members are women, marking it the first time Qatar has appointed women for the council responsible for discussing drafting of laws and government policies.
Hind Abdul Rahman al-Muftah, Dr. Hessa Sultan al-Jaber, Reem al-Mansoori, and Aisha Yousef al-Mannai are the new female appointees for the 45-member council. The decree was issued by Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Dr Hessa al-Jaber had previously served as Communication and Information Technology minister. She was sworn in on June 26, 2013, and was nominated by emir Al Thani.
Dr Jaber wasn’t the first woman to enter politics in Qatar. In 2003, Sheikha Ahmed al-Mahmoud became the first woman to join the Qatari cabinet, and served as Education Minister. Dr Ghalia Al Thani was the only other woman, until Dr Jaber’s nomination in 2013, to serve as a minister for the Qatari government. She was Qatar’s Public Health Minister.
With the ongoing regional crisis between Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates against Qatar, the Qatari government brought some changes to their laws in the last five months. Resident law was amended and they modified labour laws for foreign workers working for the preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) is already facing charges over mistreatment of labourers in Qatar for building stadiums. Per research conducted by New York-based organisation Human Rights Watch, workers had to work in extreme climate for stadium construction.
Last month, Qatar’s Government Communications Office director Sheik Saif Al Thani told CNN labour laws were under review to guarantee “migrant workers receive the necessary on-site protections”.