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Story | Research
19 September 2021

Research by QF’s DIFI leads to new flexible working policy for Qatari women

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Study into work-family balance leads to government decision that will help women juggle their jobs and their families

Research conducted by Qatar Foundation’s Doha International Family Institute has led to a change of government policy that will mean more flexible working hours for Qatari women.

As part of its role in maintaining family cohesion in Qatar and the Arab region, and through its commitment to supporting work-family balance, the institute conducted a study, entitled Work-Family Balance: Challenges, Experiences and Implications for Families in Qatar, which aimed to help Qatar-based families and individuals balance their caregiving responsibilities and work requirements.

Increasing professional support opportunities for Qatari women helps them greatly in achieving a balance between their professional and family obligations

Dr. Sharifa Al-Emadi

Following the results of this study, Doha International Family Institute (DIFI) submitted a recommendation to the Prime Minister’s Office to amend Qatar’s working hours policy. The government has now issued a decision that guarantees providing Qatari working women with more flexible options that take into account their conditions and needs, especially those relating to their families. This enables Qatari women to balance between the needs and requirements of caring for their families and children, and their work obligations.

Dr. Sharifa Al-Emadi, Executive Director of DIFI, spoke of her appreciation of the Cabinet’s approval of the draft decision on the terms and conditions of the part-time system in public agencies, saying: “Enhancing and developing a capable and motivating workforce is an essential step to make progress in establishing the human development pillar in the Qatar National Vision 2030.

“Increasing professional support opportunities for Qatari women helps them greatly in achieving a balance between their professional and family obligations. It also encourages more Qatari women to pursue a professional experience, and actively participate in building our country.

We extend our sincere thanks to our government for the importance it attaches to ensuring Qatari families attain a work-life balance

Dr. Sharifa Al-Emadi

“The decision taken by Qatar’s government moves in this direction, so we extend our sincere thanks to our government for the importance it attaches to ensuring Qatari families attain a work-life balance, and its keenness to guarantee the highest levels of family welfare.”

DIFI’s study showed that the pressures resulting from long working hours pose more burdens on individuals, preventing them from meeting family requirements, and that working mothers are particularly affected by these pressures. It also indicated that working hours consumed the larger part of their day, leaving them unable to spend enough time with their families.

A government decision means Qatari working women will now have more flexible working options that meet their needs.

Additionally, a lack of workplace support and the absence of adequate flexible work hours arrangements have been identified as posing a major obstacle to attaining work-family balance for female employees. The nature of work that requires employees to be present in person in the workplace also threatens work-family balance, even more so for females compared to males. 75 per cent of those surveyed by DIFI for the study stressed the importance of having a part-time or flexible work system to support employees and their family life.

Qatar’s investment in education has led to Qatari women obtaining a high level of learning, and to aspire to having successful careers and the opportunity to improve standards of social welfare. However, Qatari women are also determined to maintain their role as care givers for their children and other family members. DIFI therefore believes that greater working flexibility can be a positive step towards encouraging more women to join to the workforce.

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