Monday, January 10, 2011

Qatar and Chores

The last couple of days I've had a bad cold which means just lounging around the house going through tissues. The sore throat affected my voice so much I couldn't even use my speech recognition software that well. Seems to be abating now though which is a good thing -- I hate being sick.

We'll keep this entry short. There was a recent article in the newspaper surveying Qataris regarding domestic chores. Most of it is pretty much what you'd expect from a conservative society, lots of “women should do the household chores and men shouldn't”. However, I found one interesting difference from what we would consider a "traditional" Western view:
Some 43.5 percent of the respondents said couples should do shopping for the household, while 27.8 percent said the onus should be on the head of the family. Another 22.4 percent said wives must do the shopping alone.
More stated that the husband should be the one doing the household shopping, not the wife. I don't think this was ever the prevailing view in the West, that would land squarely as part of the wife's work.

So why is that? It may have to do with the view that the person making the money should be the one who has the decision on spending it. Could also be in part due to views that women should not go around unescorted (now that I think about it how would the wife do her shopping alone if she expected to have a male relative along?)

Anyway from my experience you do not see many Qatari women doing the grocery shopping on their own, usually it is with their husbands. I never thought about that many Qataris feel that the husband should be the one doing the shopping. I have seen many Qatari men on their own doing grocery shopping but never thought they were routinely doing the grocery shopping for the household.

I will try to keep my eyes peeled for that to see just how prevalent it is.


Sean Stephens said...

Dear Glen,

I found your blog site through a Google search. I run a website called The Middle East Alliance. Basically, the goal of the site is to help people in America and Europe better understand what is going on in different Middle East countries - so much goes unreported, and we look for blogs like yours to find out what is really happening. Currently, people within the State Department, Georgetown Center for Arab Studies and various think tanks are using our site for research. Here is a link to the site: Basically, I'm wondering if you want to be a part of this - we would repost your blog entries on our site, of course linking to your actual site as well, which should also boost traffic to your blog. Anyways let me know if this is okay with you. Thanks so much!

Sean Stephens

Glen McKay said...

E-mail has been sent to mideastalliance, thanks for stopping by my blog.

Anonymous said...

Did you know... in Islam the head of the family i.e. the husband, is COMPLETELY responsible for providing financial support and bearing financial responsibilities for the family. On the other hand, the wife has NO financial obligation towards her family.

I assume this is a factor as to why women prefer that the husband should be supplying the house with needed groceries? It's a possibility.