Thesis on Qatari Women and Globalization … help please

March 16, 2010 at 1:16 pm (1, education, gender discrimination, Qatari culture, Society, women)

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.

9 Comments

  1. Jennifer Heeg Maruska said,

    Hi Mimi,

    I’m very interested in the same topics that your friend is researching. Perhaps she’d be interested in meeting and sharing ideas? If so, can you please pass along my email address?

    Thanks very much,

    Jennifer Heeg, Ph.D.
    Texas A&M at Qatar
    jenheeg@gmail.com

    • mimizwords said,

      Done … thank you for your interest

  2. ZAREMA said,

    Thanks the author for article. The main thing do not forget about users, and continue in the same spirit.

  3. intlxpatr said,

    Mimi, words make a difference, words shape how we think. Becoming fluent in French changed my life, gave me a whole new tool box for problem solving, with new perspectives.

    It doesn’t have to be either/or – as YOU know.🙂 It can be additive, having more tools (languages) allows us to approach problems with more possibilities for solving them.

    Adding English to Arabic – or vice versa – adds richness to our lives and vision.

  4. LouisaBalata said,

    Funny to see this phenomenon happen all over the world … There’s a french proverb, I don’t know if it exists in english or arabic, “the grass is always greener is the neighbour’s garden”. I’m undergoing the reverse phenomenon, learning arabic because as a french, I’m so fed up with the western world, the arab world being a nice change …
    But Intlxpatr is right, the additive approach is the best … I should stop bashing at the west everytime I have the chance😉

    • mimizwords said,

      The proverb exist in both English and Arabic. In English its ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’

      I know what you mean, learning a new languages opens up a whole new world of possibilities and interesting new things.

      It takes 88 weeks to be perfect in Arabic, Japanese, Chinese and Korean while it takes 24 weeks to be perfect in Latin languages. good luck with your Arabic

      • LouisaBalata said,

        Thanks😉 I didn’t know this week theory … But I prefer it than the one of my arabic teachers: they all say it takes 10 years of study to be fluent in arabic. I suppose they talk about high university levels … The next year I’ll spend in Jordan should be a start for the 88 weeks !
        Will the thesis of you friend be avalaible on the internet once finished ? It looks really interesting …

  5. mimizwords said,

    I dont know really, I can give you her email if you are interested … I didnt reply to her myself I should contact her soon.

  6. LouisaBalata said,

    Avec grand plaisir !

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