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Abstract

Women’s status continues to undergo rapid evolution in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC). The modernization policies sweeping the energy-rich region has resulted in unintended social and gender imbalances. Partly due to the wealth distribution policies and the vast influx of foreign labor into the GCC, the region’s indigenous people are facing several challenges as they adapt to their surrounding environment. Improvements to women’s education have resulted in an imbalance of highly educated women relative to their male counterparts in the region, tipping the scales of gender roles. While both men and women accept predominantly paternal values, the strides in women’s status may be contradictory to traditions, customs, and expectations. As a result, high divorce rates plague GCC citizens, while misyar marriage reemerges as a temporary antidote.

Note on the Author

Tofol Al-Nasr is a graduate student at George Mason University’s School of Public Policy. She is also the Sub-Editor and Contributor to The Peninsula, Qatar’s English-language daily newspaper. Formerly, Tofol was a senior government official at a national oil company in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and represented the state’s interests at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Tofol is also a founding member of Qatar’s Women’s Association and the first female Qatari journalist writing in the English language.

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