The Influence of Changing Social Norms on Qatari Women's Perceptions of Gender and Empowerment During Pregnancy Open Access

Nur, Aasli Abdi (2017)

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Background: In Qatar, socially conservative views promoting women's participation in the domestic sphere are reinforced through familial expectations of childbearing and motherhood. However, the neo-patriarchal family structure is becoming increasingly incongruous with globalization, shifting social norms, and state-building goals that require Qatari women's participation in the public sphere to sustain economic growth.
Aim: The aim of this analysis was to contextualize the content and meaning of constructs like women's empowerment, particularly the enabling resources at women's disposal that influence Qatari women's perception of their mental health and well-being during pregnancy.
Methods: This study used grounded theory to analyze 25 semi-structured qualitative interviews with pregnant Qatari women at the Women's Hospital of Hamad Medical Corporation in Doha, Qatar.
Results: Women's perception of pregnancy as a facilitator of empowerment differed widely. This variation was attributed to differing levels of social and economic dependency experienced during pregnancy. However, shifting social norms coupled with women's access to enabling human and economic resources led to participants' identification of education a key facilitator of empowerment for women and a pathway to economic independence in Qatari society.
Discussion: While societal norms continue to place a high value on the family, stressors attributed to kin relationships influence women's mental health during pregnancy in Qatar. Contextualizing measures of empowerment in this setting may help characterize the associations between women's agency and maternal and child health outcomes in the Arab Middle East.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

1.1 Research Gap

1.2 Research Aim

1.3 Significance Statement

2. Literature Review

2.1 Economic Development in Qatar

2.2 Improving Access to Education

2.3 Conflicting Social Norms in Qatar

2.4 Kin Relationships and Social Mobility

2.5 Women's Participation in the Labor Market

2.6 Accessing Enabling Resources during Pregnancy

3. Manuscript

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Methods

3.3 Results

3.4 Discussion

4. References

5. Appendix A: SSI Guide

6. Appendix B: Codebook

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