Women fans don't worry about dress codes at the World Cup

Soccer news Dec 16, 2022

Daniela Crawford, a Brazilian soccer fan making the trip to Qatar for the World Cup, was concerned about the country's more strict clothing standards. Like many other women in the competition, she claimed to have had a positive experience, nevertheless.

Before last week's quarterfinal match between Brazil and Croatia, Crawford, wearing shorts, said, "In Brazil people are accustomed to it, but we came here and chose to demonstrate how we are." The family was photographed in front of the Brazilian flag outside Doha's Education City Stadium.

An Arab and Muslim country has never before hosted the World Cup. Before the event, international visitors were urged by the Qatari government, FIFA, and their respective national governments to adhere to local norms regarding women's attire and alcohol use.

Many female fans who spoke to The Associated Press expressed relief that their fears had been unfounded, saying they had only had to make modest alterations to their attire. While some felt threatened, several residents of Qatar expressed gratitude for the country's tough alcohol prohibitions. Conversely, Qatar is promoting the event as a chance to change people's perceptions of women in the country.

Most women in Qatar's traditional society wear the headscarf and long, flowing robes in public. More than 2 million foreign workers live there, considerably outnumbering the roughly 300,000 residents. Thus the country is not unfamiliar with foreign ladies.

Bernie Ragay, a Filipina who has lived and worked in Qatar for the last eight years, says the nation is "safer than my country." She wore a crop top and remarked that it was OK if people knew the limits.

If you're going to go about here without a back, you can't expect to get away with it" (outfit). What she meant was, "You have to respect their culture."

Isabeli Monteiro, 32, a cheerleader for Brazil, said she wore skirts rather than shorts and had no problems. "We don't get any kind of attention, which is great considering we're at a World Cup full of people from all around the world with their own unique traditions."

According to Fatma Al Nuaimi, the tournament's Supreme Committee's (SC) spokesman, many women, including those in leadership roles, helped organize the World Cup.

She expressed her desire that the event would have a lasting impact by altering people's perceptions about women in the area.

She said that "a lot of people truly have a misunderstanding,", particularly about women's roles in Qatar and the region. Those who visit Qatar may see that "women do have rights and women are genuinely being empowered," she remarked.

Qatar has said that empowering women in the Gulf state is a top priority. Many accomplished women are working in government and academia, including three ministers. Sheikha Moza bint Nasser al-Missned, the emir's mother, is a well-known activist and one of the most well-known women in the Arab world.

When compared to other Arab countries, Qatar has one of the highest percentages of female literacy and education. Nearly all children in Qatar, including boys and girls, attend basic school, and the proportion of women in higher education is double that of males.

Despite this, the nation has consistently ranked near the bottom of the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report for years. This report measures the disparity between the number of women and men in several fields, including politics, the workforce, and healthcare.

In particular, rights groups have highlighted laws that mandate a man's consent before a woman can leave the country or tie the knot, and they have also noted that women often need the consent of a male guardian before they can work or receive certain forms of reproductive health care, such as pap smears.

According to official figures, the percentage of working Qatari women has been steady at about 37% in recent years. The number of Saudi women employed has increased rapidly recently, from 14% in 2019—one of the lowest in the region—to roughly 27% this year.

Director of the FIFA Fan Festival in Doha Mead El-Amadi said the women working on the event would serve as role models for those women interested in working in the sports industry.

"Football is a male-dominated sport across the world," she said. However, she reassured the audience that the male organizers were fully behind the female organizers "to make this happen and to make the world look at us today, delivering this great event."

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