Family law was codified in 2006 with the introduction of the Family Act, which applies to all Muslims in Qatar, regardless of nationality. Previously, decisions were made on a case-by-case basis, with judges drawing heavily on their own interpretations of Islamic law, and on Qatari customs and traditions.Family law and personal status matters continue to be adjudicated in religious courts, which tend to discriminate against women.
There are no specific laws in place to protect women from domestic violence, although since the mid-2000s, government representatives have started speaking out openly against domestic violence, which was previously considered a taboo topic. Also, the Family Code (2006) states that a woman has the right to be free from physical and mental harm at the hands of her husband. According to the National Human Rights Council, domestic violence may be prosecuted under general laws against violence.
The estimated male/female sex ratio for the working population is 4.15, while the sex ratio at birth is 1.02. There is evidence that Qatar is a country of of low concern for missing women. There is some indication that the gender gap may be related to the massive male labour imported.
Women and men who are Qatari citizens have the same rights to own and manage land and non-land assets. However, Freedom House reports that in practice, social norms and customs make it difficult for women to exercise these rights.
Al-Nasr, T. J. (2011), “Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Women and Misyar Marriage: Evolution and Progress in the Arabian Gulf,” Journal of International Women’s Studies, Volume 12, Issue 3: Arab Women and Their Struggles for Socioeconomic and Political Rights, pp. 43-57.