The roots of thriving modern-day Qatar with its multinational, multicultural population can be traced back to the people who have lived on the peninsula across the centuries. With the discovery of rich natural resources in the modern era, the tribes of Qatar began to adapt from traditional living to an urbanized lifestyle. The Qatari people have transformed their land into a shining city at the forefront of innovation and progress. Modest, hospitable and practical, these people with a rich ancestry now harness their natural gifts as they transform their society into one of educational, technological, sustainable and commercial excellence.

With all the changes, Qataris have retained their cultural heritage. Most Qataris wear the national dress. For men, this is a white robe-like garment, or ‘thawb,’ and they often wear the ‘ghutra’, a square, cotton cloth on their heads held in place with a black cord, or ‘iqal’. Women traditionally wear an ‘abaya’ or a black robe, and cover their hair with a ‘shaila,’ with some women covering their face with a ‘niqab’.

Qatar’s population is young, with more than 70 per cent under the age of 30, which lends to Qatar’s unparalleled dynamism.  

With an increasingly educated, travelled and worldly population, Qataris are in the business of building bridges across cultural and geographic boundaries. To its visitors, it welcomes the ideas and practices that they bring to solve problems that exist for all nations as the world faces up to the challenges of our times. But Qatar also hopes that during their stay, visitors engage with its people to learn about the solutions and approaches that Qatar has developed to answer local, regional and global questions. It is in this spirit of openness and exchange that Qatar has taken a leadership role on a spectrum of issues.

Shoulder to shoulder

Shaping a society that grants equal opportunities to all of its citizens is a continuous and evolving process. Qatari women stand shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts in building Qatar’s progressive national vision. Qatari women are not only mothers, daughters and sisters – they are academics, entrepreneurs and leaders. Qatar is proud to have been the first Arab Gulf country to grant women the right to vote in 1998. They outnumber men as students in higher education institutions. Women are an increasingly powerful force in the business sector, as the number of Qatari women working in the private sector more than tripled from 2009 to 2011, representing 37% of Qataris in the sector. And they have been represented at the ministerial level within the government..