A friend of mine is currently writing a thesis about women in Qatar and how globalization/penetration of English into Qatari society has been a dominant force that’s changed their traditional roles and may even cause a total culture shift as they adopt this language wholly. She is also interested how women are utilizing English to really bridge the gap between east and west. It’s so great hearing first accounts of women and how they defend their traditions and culture despite being told by Western missionaries that they need to “liberate” themselves from their “oppressive” lifestyles.
She is focusing on the women at the university level, as these are the women who have spent their elementary and high school years learning English and are now applying it to the real world. They’re the future mothers, so likely, their kids will speak English from the start. There is a cultural shift, not only are Qatari women highly educated and eloquent in English, but even their interests tend to be lenient towards western trends (Movies, shopping (brand names especially, western music, etc).
What she wants to know from you is the following:
Do you think Arabic is incompatible with Qatari women today? The language itself is sexist in nature (e.g. all words pertaining to women almost directly stem from her association with males, like bint refers to a young virgin, imra2a refers to a married woman, 3anis is a woman who is unmarried and passed the desirable age of marriage, even when a woman is married, her husband refers to her as the “2ahil” or “um al 3yall” when speaking to others about her, as though the most desirable/appropriate status for a woman is as a wife/mother.)
How does a woman break free of that when using Arabic? Is it even possible? Do you think this is one reason why young, professional, educated women are speaking English more?
* Please remember that this is an Academic topic and not an attack on Arabic culture or language or women. If you disagree with the thesis, please give a comprehensive explanation and evidence.