qatar women's rights violations

There are more than three times as many men as women, where are the women in Qatar?

why does qatar have more males than females?Qatari men face the dilemma of the high cost of marriage because there are more men than women.

5 mins read

The World Cup in Qatar has attracted worldwide attention for some time now. Soccer players are battling to excite millions of fans on the field. Hundreds of thousands of travelers have flocked to experience the charm of this rich desert country for themselves outside the stadium.

You may notice that there are many men on the streets of Qatar, but very few women. One wonders, where are the women in Qatar?

The countries with the biggest male-to-female ratios

The answer is simple. The number of women in Qatar is simply too small. You can’t even walk down the street and meet women easily. Qatar is a country where there are many men and few women, and the gender ratio is widely.

Qatar has total 2.93 million permanent residents untill year of 2021 which include more than 370,000 are citizens. The rest are mostly laborers from Pakistan, India, Egypt and other countries.

In terms of resident population, Qatar has about 2.19 million male residents, or about 75% of the total, and about 730,000 female residents, or about 25% of the total.

Qatar has a gender ratio of 3:1 with with men outnumbering women by three to one. Qatar has thus become the country with the most disparate gender ratio in the world.

female population in qatar
qatar male to female ratio

Qatar had the world’s highest resident sex ratio imbalance in 2021. Some would argue that Qatar has more men than women because there are too many male foreign workers, which is the reason for this situation. However, it’s not that simple.

The Qatari government does not publish separate demographic data on the country’s citizens, but we can still see this in the distribution of the country’s aging population. The majority of foreign workers in Qatar are predominantly male and are concentrated in the young-adult age group of 18 to 60 years old. The country still has 1.9% more men (2.7%) than women (0.8%) over the age of 60 as a percentage of the national population.

female population in qatar
Percentage of resident population by age group in Qatar in 2020

Keeping in mind that foreign workers rarely stay in this age group, the country’s residents over the age of 60 are basically Qatari citizens.

Therefore, it is easy to see that even without the influence of foreign workers, the older generation of Qatari citizens does have a gender imbalance with more men than women. The reasons for this imbalance are related to the conservative perception of Qatari people and the “preference for men over women” social culture.

Qatar is an Arab country whose ancestors made their living as nomads and gatherers. Traditional Arab society is tied by blood, forming families, clans and tribes. In this environment, men were the primary labor force in the clan and the source of soldiers to defend the clan’s interests in war. Within the family, patriarchal and marital authority was also clearly dominant, while women were seen as “property” to be joined in marriage and to bear children.

female population in qatar
Arab nomads, the look of Qataris' grandfather's generation

Even Qatar has become urbanized nowdays, its residual tribal ethos remains influential. A significant number of women will marry between the ages of 14 and 17 and live a married life from then on. Although Qatari law recognizes that women can attend university and participate in the workforce. Qatari women also tend to earn less than men in equivalent positions.


Qatari women
Qatari women

Men are also preferred over women in terms of property inheritance. Qataris are more inclined to have boys in order to inherit family property and continue their heirs in this environment. This subjective choice obviously has an impact on the sex ratio.

Women are uncomfortable and Men have trouble getting a wife

With the idea that “scarcity is the key”, women in Qatar must have a good time, right? Unfortunately, women in Qatar do not enjoy any “gender benefits”On the contrary, their presence is very low.

Qatar is a Muslim country that strictly enforces religious laws and adheres to the principle of separation of men and women in public places. Women and men are never in the same classroom or the same carriage in here. The vast majority of restaurants, shopping malls, and supermarkets have separate spaces for male and female customers.

Therefore, it is very rare for foreign men to see women in public in Qatar. They are wrapped in tight robes or wearing headscarves when go out. This is exactly why there are fewer women than men on the streets of Qatar.

Not many Qatari women are as stylish and present as the King's mother, the Queen Mother Moza
Not many Qatari women are as stylish and present as the King's mother, the Queen Mother Moza

The situation of having more men than women also affects normal marriages. It is difficult for Qatari women to marry foreign men in order for Qatari men to marry successfully. This is because the offspring of a Qatari woman and a foreign man cannot obtain Qatari nationality or inherit the woman’s property.

Such marriages are considered illegal by the country’s government if the other party is non-Muslim. This is an invisible barrier for Qatari women to marry abroad. Most families want to intermarry within the same tribe and clan and they consider it a loss for women to marry outside the family.

As a result, Qatari women’s freedom to marry is restricted and limited to their own country.



The first wife of the King of Qatar, Jawahar, was also the King’s cousin, and they were in an intra-clan marriage. Qatari men face the dilemma of high marriage costs because of many men and few women. Men in Arab countries also have to pay a bride price to get married.

In 2010, it cost about 100,000 riyals (about $30000 U.S dollars) to marry a Qatari bride. The price of the bride price has risen to 150,000 or even 300,000 riyals (about $90000 U.S dollars) or more nowdays.

Qatar is changing

The Qatari government is not unaware of the problem of too many men and too few women. They have introduced a number of reforms and pro-marriage policies in recent years to try to ease the pressure.

For example, the Qatari government offers a “bride price loan” of up to 300,000 riyals to marriageable men, and free weddings for couples with Qatari nationality.

Qatari men have also started getting  marriage with foreign brides who are from European Caucasian countries. Among the population, Qatari men have also started a wave of foreign brides. Brides from European Caucasian countries are the most popular. However, Qatari law requires Muslim men to marry only Muslim women and foreign brides must convert to Qatar.

Qatar recognizes the legality of polygamy, and not many foreign brides are really willing to marry into Qatar. Progress in improving women’s rights has been slow in Qatar, but not without change. The country passed a bill in 2001 to protect women’s labor rights and allow women to enjoy the same retirement benefits as men. Qatari women also have the right to education which is making Qatari women’s employment rate among the highest in the Gulf Arab states. 

Qatar also sent female athletes to that year’s London Olympics for the first time in 2012. There are also women politicians in Qatari government. All of these changes are indicative of the fact that the status of women in Qatar has improved more than ever.

The gender ratio of minors between the ages of 0 and 15 in Qatar is shrinking, gradually balancing out to nearly 1 to 1 in recent years. This means that a generation from now, the imbalance in Qatar’s sex ratio will be greatly improved.

As a rich Gulf country known worldwide, the Qatar has always been one of the most prosperous and diverse of the Arab countries.

Good luck to Qatar.

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