Manama: More than one third of Qatari women work outside their homes, an expert has said.

“We have around 36 per cent of Qatari women who have a job,” Dr Rachel Hajar, senior consultant cardiologist and director of Non-Invasive Cardiology at Hamad Medical Corporation’s Heart Hospital, told a forum on the status of Qatari women in Doha.

“At the Hamad Medical Corporation, 10 per cent of our employees are women. The opportunity for women to take up jobs outside their homes is highly significant and boosts the women’s self-confidence, comfort and health,” she said, quoted by Qatari daily Al Sharq on Thursday.

Maternity leave

Working mothers in Qatar have 60 days as maternity leave for one year and two breastfeeding hours a day, she said as she highlighted the role of Qatari women in the past and present.

“The assessment of the status of Qatari women should be based on access to education, health care and legal rights. Women here are not deprived of education because of their gender and literacy among them has reached 100 per cent. In fact, the number of Qatari women who completed the three stages of education is higher than that of men,” she said.

Life expectancy among women has gone up from 60 in 1960 to 77.7 in 2010, she said.

“This is a clear indication of the excellent health care women in Qatar are getting,” she said.

Among legal rights enjoyed by Qatari women is the right to run and vote in national elections.

Municipal elections

In May, one of the four women running in the Municipal Council elections won a seat. Women’s rights activists said they were confident the score would be improved in the next elections in four years.

Qatar’s National Development Strategy (NDS) 2011-2016 said that the number of women in leadership positions would be increased by 30 per cent.

The government will establish a women’s leadership centre to build women’s capacity and increase the number of women in political, organisational and business-related decision-making positions, the strategy said.