Qatar had the advantage that it projected to young Saudis and others the
ability to change without completely dumping ultra-conservative
religious precepts that have shaped
culture and belief systems. It projected a vision of a less restrictive
and less choking conservative Wahhabi society that grants individuals
irrespective of gender greater opportunities... Qatar today is a long
way from the mid-1990s when Qatari women, like in Saudi Arabia until
recently, were banned from driving, voting or holding government jobs.
Qatari women occupy prominent positions in multiple sectors of society.
With women accounting for 53 percent of the work force, Qatar outranks
Middle Eastern and North African states by a large margin. Only Kuwait
with 48 and the UAE with 42 percent come close. It’s a picture that long
juxtaposed starkly with that of its Wahhabi big brother. In doing so,
Qatar threw down a gauntlet for the kingdom’s interpretation of
nominally shared religious and cultural beliefs... The UAE-Saudi-led
boycott amounted to Qatar putting itself under Saudi and UAE tutelage.