DOHA ( Associated Press) – Daniela Crawford, arriving from Brazil for the World Cup in Qatar, was concerned about the conservative dress code. But like many women participating in the tournament, she said she didn’t have a problem.
“In Brazil, people are used to it, but we came here and decided to show who we are,” said Crawford, dressed in shorts, with her husband and their two children holding a Brazilian flag at the Ciudad de la Educación Was taking photos outside the stadium. In the city of Ryan, ahead of the quarter-final match between Brazil and Croatia last week.
This is the first World Cup to be held in an Arab and Muslim country. Prior to the event, the Qatari government, FIFA and the governments of other countries advised attendees to respect local customs in everything from women’s clothing to alcohol consumption.
Several fans who spoke to The Associated Press said that despite the concerns, they haven’t had any problems and have only had to make minor adjustments to their costumes. Some praised Qatar’s strict restrictions on alcohol, saying it made them feel safer. Meanwhile, Qatar presents the tournament as an opportunity to break stereotypes about the role of women in their society.
Qatar is a conservative nation and most Qatari women wear headscarves and loose-fitting clothing in public. But it is also home to more than two million foreign workers, far outnumbering the roughly 300,000 Qatari citizens – so the country is used to foreign women.
Bemi Ragay, a Filipina woman who has worked in Qatar for eight years, says she has always felt “safer than in her own country”. Dress is not a problem as long as you know the decorum, she said, noting that she was wearing a crop top.
“You cannot walk here in the street with an open back (blouse). You have to respect their culture,” he insisted.
Brazilian fan Isabeli Monteiro, 32, said she was wearing a long skirt instead of shorts and had no problem.
“No one looks at us any other way, especially when we are at the World Cup where there are different cultures from all over the world,” he added.
Supreme Committee spokeswoman Fatma Al Nuaimi said women played an integral role in organizing the World Cup, including in several high positions in the Supreme Committee, which is in charge of the tournament.
She said she hoped the legacy of the tournament would be a change in attitudes towards women in the region.
“A lot of people have a really misconception, especially when it comes to the role of women in Qatar or the region,” she explained. According to her, the fans who came to Qatar saw that “women have rights and they are really being empowered.”
Qatari authorities have made improving the status of women in the small Gulf country one of their priorities. Women hold several prominent government and academic positions, including three female cabinet ministers. The mother of its ruling emir, the former Sheikha Moza bint Nasser al-Misnad, is one of the Arab world’s most famous women known for her social causes.
Qatar also has one of the highest rates of education for females in the Arab world. The number of Qatari women in university is twice that of Qatari men, and almost all Qatari boys and girls attend primary school.
Yet, the country has for years been stuck at the bottom of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, which tracks the gap between women and men in employment, education, health and politics.
Rights bodies specifically singled out laws that require a male guardian’s permission for a woman to travel or marry, saying that women are often denied certain forms of reproductive health care, including pap smears. requires the same permission to work or receive.
Some 37% of Qatari women work, which is a high figure for the region, but has been stable in recent years according to government statistics. By comparison, Saudi Arabia has seen more aggressive growth, with the percentage of employed Saudi women rising from 14% in 2019 to around 27%, the lowest in the region this year.
Mead El-Amadi, director of the FIFA Fan Festival in Doha, said the women involved in organizing the tournament would be role models for other women who want to enter the business of football or sports in general.
“Globally, football is a sport dominated by men,” she insisted, but added that the women organizers had the support of their male colleagues “for making this happen and for offering us this great event the world has today.” sees.”
Associated Press writer Lee Keith contributed to this report.