Women candidate for the upcoming Shura Council election have called on voters to be active participants in the voting process and consider participation in it as the national duty of every qualified Qatari citizen.
They stressed that voters should see the election as a "huge and historic" responsibility and cast their votes for the suitable candidates who can serve the country and its people based on their qualifications rather than any other personal preferences or any other considerations.
Speaking at a forum hosted by local Arabic daily Arrayah that included a good number of women candidates, they explored their ideas, programmes and views for the future. They also stressed that Qatari women have proven to be highly qualified and able to undertake all major responsibilities and assume the highest positions in the country, besides being pioneers in many major fields.
Naeema Abdulwahab Mohamed al-Mutawa, a candidate for the 12th constituency, said this is a time of joy for all the Qatari people as this new experience of the Shura Council election will make the people active partners in the process of decision-making. She said the candidates represent the people as a whole and not clans, families or tribes, and the electoral process will contribute to the progress of the country in its entirety.
She pointed out that through her programme, she wants to be logical, realistic and reasonable and avoid any sympathetic address. Her suggestions include the creation of a dedicated society for women and children in particular and for the family in general, and include people with special needs as an integral part within the system of comprehensive development.
The other major issues that are part of her programme include further establishing the national identity and traditions, preserving the rights of retirees and benefiting from their experiences, among other key public issues.
Lawla Ammar al-Khuzaei, a candidate for the 11th constituency, said she has been keen to adopt a programme that takes into account all the needs of citizens. At the same time, she will lay emphasis on enhancing the original Qatari identity and giving the elderly the opportunity to be active players in reviving and maintaining the popular folklore of the country.
Further, her programme covers various issues such as those concerning the sons and daughters of Qatari women with foreign husbands, giving priority to Qataris in the public services, and improving the condition of divorced women and retirees. She also offers various other plans and suggestions to develop the education sector and economy and boost the participation of women, elderly and persons with disability to benefit from their potentials in enhancing the society.
Fatima al-Abdulla, a candidate for the 17th constituency, has a special focus on legislative and legal aspects that would enhance the rights of different categories of Qatari people. She explained that certain types of legislation need to be reviewed and activated, such as human resources laws, laws for the protection of the elderly, housing and social security laws, and the issues faced by Qatari women's sons and daughters.
She stressed that she will work to introduce draft laws that support the causes of young people and enhance the capabilities of the business sector. She also further stressed the role of accountability and transparency laws.
Mariam al-Mislmani, a candidate for the 7th constituency, said the most important pillars of human resources development include education and women. Accordingly, she believes that it is important for the new council to have a good number of women who will be more able to communicate the voices of women in general.
She said she will suggest the creation of a supreme council for women that will discuss and address their issues, and review the particular issue of the decreasing number of Qatari female teachers. Besides, she has suggested introducing a new curriculum in schools that tackle the legislative experience in Qatar, as well as working to enhance the vocational and practical skills of young Qatari people.
Amina Mubarak Jabr al-Mislam, a candidate for the 19th constituency, wants to recommend converting the housing department into a ministry so that the housing issues of Qataris can be addressed in a clear and specialised way. Other issues in her agenda include the full digital transformation of different government departments, doing away with paper-based transactions, and benefiting from major sports event that will take place in the country to enhance and boost tourism, in addition to promoting traditional and heritage sites as attractive tourist destinations.