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  • 2B. Summaries and Presentations

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A brief history will be outlined of the policy of Kuwaitization, as to when it was implemented and why the government saw it necessary to involve more nationals in the development process. An overview of the labour force by nationality and gender in the last two decades will highlight the changes that have taken place. A discussion of policies passed by the government will be examined to evaluate how it has hindered or facilitated female labour force participation, such as early retirement, unemployment benefits, etc. Furthermore, the role of the Parliament in involving women effectively in the development process will be assessed through the policies that they passed or blocked. A concise description will be given on how civil society through NGOs and journalists acted as pressure groups to block policies that could have been detrimental to women¿s women's labour force participation.  Lastly, some possible strategies to encourage women to remain in the labour market and be better distributed will be discussed.

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Speaker: Hatoon Al-Fassi - King Saud University / Qatar University
Moderator: Steffen Hertog - London School of Economics
Saudi women entered the official labor force at a later stage in the Saudi modern history starting in the sixties as temporary labors, then were included in the Labor Law of the seventies. Although those laws did not discriminate against women directly, there were many articles and exceptions that made an allowance for that, in which work became an area of a religious and social dispute between those who consider it ¿permitted¿ "permitted" and those who believe it is ¿prohibited¿ unless for necessity. Today, this dispute has reached an advanced stage, where the high rate of women¿s women"s unemployment, their low percentage of economic participation and the increased number of expatriates are haunting any reform that the state is trying to bring forward.  
In this paper I shall explore the socioeconomic debate about Saudi women¿s participation in the labor force, the challenges of unemployment that exceeds 26% and the efforts to respond to this problem officially, religiously and socially in terms of public policy reforms or the fatwas that counter all positive efforts or women¿s women"s mobilization to enforce their demands. Part of the conclusion will depend on the coming month¿s month's political and economic changes, if any.

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This presentation focuses on the role of Qatari women in the labor market. Women in Qatar are well placed within the Qatari society in all aspects of life, particularly the job market. In the pre-oil era, which was discovered in the end of the first half of the previous century, women¿s women's participation was equal to men's, as they partnered in all prevalent crafts at the time, like hunting and herding, and even in practicing some manual traditional crafts.
After the discovery of oil and the subsequent improvement in the living conditions of all social groups, women's social status was strengthened. The country's permanent constitution guaranteed equality between men and women in terms of rights and responsibilities without any discrimination.  Women¿s Women's empowerment became over time a political and strategic priority, particularly in the fields of education, health, and employment.  This was well reflected in Qatar's 2030 national vision, population policy, and official family strategy.  As a result,  women¿s women's status witnessed a significant improvement as indicated in the country¿s country's growth indicators, many of which are comparable to those in industrialized countries. In spite of all this progress, the place of Qatari women in the job market continues to face some challenges. The  high increase in female education (which surpasses male education figures) has not resulted in a  corresponding progress in their employment participation and training opportunities, which are highly influenced by prevalent social and cultural norms.  This has been reflected in a great concentration of women in certain sectors, particularly education, which led to the reduction of work opportunities and a higher percentage of unemployment among women versus men.
In this context, the presentation will explore the various aspects of the participation of Qatari women in the labor market, including the following:
- The constitutional and legal framework that guarantees women's right to work.
- The most important policies and strategies that impact women's work.
- An evaluation of the actual participation of Qatari women in the labor market.
- The challenges that affect the full integration of women in the workforce.
- Proposals for strengthening women's employment prospects.

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Speaker: Rafiah Al-Talei - The Middle East Broadcasting Networks, USA
Moderator: Nadereh Chamlou - The World Bank
This paper examines Omanization and women¿s women's empowerment from a cultural and social perspective.  In the process, it discusses the issue of Omani women¿s women's education and draws on available figures to explore their place in the workforce, both in the public and private sectors.  Does Omanization give Omani women more work opportunities? Has Omanization changed women¿s women's social status and role? And what impact has had it on women¿s women's relations with their families,  with their male partners, and with their male co-workers?  In trying to address these questions, the paper will also highlight challenges facing women's full enrollment in the workforce and provide some suggestions to overcome roadblocks.

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Nationalization policies in the Arab Gulf States are often thought to be in direct and unmitigated relationship with the job sector as part of a public sphere. However, nationalization policies include channelling the development of human capacities within civil society. Women have been pivotal players in developing the capacities of women to support nationalization programs and nation building. The role of women through civil society, in particular, is little understood. This paper seeks to uncover the role of women¿s women's organizations in channelling women¿s women's involvement in the public and in taking responsibility for the development of these states. After addressing the impact of these nationalization policies that are heavily gendered and the role women assume through their civil society work, the paper discusses the multi-faceted nature of women¿s women's participation. Tensions around identity and nation building lie not simply with new or foreign values as part of globalization and the influx of growing numbers of foreigners. The paper argues that these tensions are growing around making meaning over participation and the different roles that women are playing. In seeking answers to the questions it poses related to the impact of nationalization policies on women¿s women's participation and the role women play, the paper argues looking within civil society as the playing field.

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