Women fans at the World Cup shrug off concerns about dress codes

Daniela Crawford had been concerned about the conservative dress codes in Qatar as she travelled from Brazil for the World Cup. However, like many women attending the tournament, she did not find any problems during the event.

It is common in Brazil, but we decided to show how we are here before the Brazil-Croatia quarterfinal match last week, Crawford – wearing shorts – said as she snapped pictures with the Brazilian flag outside Education City Stadium with her husband and two sons.

The World Cup is being held in an Arab and Muslim nation for the first time. During the lead-up to the event, both the Qatari government and FIFA, the world soccer body, advised people attending from around the world to adhere to local customs, including how women should dress and how they should drink.

Women fans interviewed by The Associated Press reported that, despite worries, they have encountered no problems and have only had to make minor adjustments in their dressing. Qatari residents have praised the tight restrictions on alcohol, saying that they feel safer as a result of the restrictions. According to Qatar, the tournament will be an opportunity for women to overcome stereotypes about their role in the country.

A large number of supporters arrive at the Lusail Stadium to watch Saudi Arabia’s World Cup match against Mexico. (AP)

A majority of Qatari women wear a headscarf and loose-fitting robes in public. Qatar is a conservative nation. In addition, it is home to an international population of more than 2 million foreign workers, far outnumbering the approximately 300,000 citizens – so it is not an uncommon sight to see foreign women on the streets.

During her eight years working in Qatar, Filipina Bemie Ragay has always felt safe, “safer than my country.” As long as you know the boundaries, clothing is not an issue, she said, noting that she was wearing a crop top. There is no way that you can walk down the street in a backless outfit.

The culture of the people must be respected,” she said. According to Isabeli Monteiro, a 32-year-old Brazil fan, she has not encountered any difficulties wearing long skirts as opposed to shorts.

Nobody pays attention to us, especially since we compete in a World Cup involving different cultures around the globe.”

In the organization of the World Cup, women played an integral role, including several who served in high positions on the Supreme Committee, which is responsible for overseeing the tournament, according to Fatma Al Nuaimi, spokesperson for the Supreme Committee.

According to her, one of the main goals of the tournament was to change attitudes toward women in the region.

“A lot of people have a misconception, especially when it comes to women’s roles in Qatar or the region,” she said. She pointed out that visitors to Qatar are able to see that “women do have rights, and women are actually empowered here.”

The German national colours are worn by a woman who cheers on the tribune prior to the match between Germany and Japan in group E of the World Cup. (AP)

The tiny Gulf nation has stated that improving the situation of women is one of its priorities. In addition to three ministers in the Cabinet, women hold a number of prominent positions within government and academia. One of the most famous women in the Arab world is Sheikha Moza bint Nasser al-Missned, the mother of its ruling emir. Sheikha Moza bint Nasser al-Missned is known for advocating social causes. Furthermore, Qatar has one of the highest rates of women’s education in the Arab world.

Qatari women attend college at a higher rate than Qatari men, and nearly all Qatari children attend primary school.

It has consistently ranked near the bottom of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, which measures the disparities between men and women in employment, education, health, and politics. Some rights groups criticize laws that require a male guardian’s approval for a woman to travel or marry, as well as some forms of reproductive health care, including pap smears, which require a female guardian’s permission.

According to government statistics, about 37% of Qatari women are employed, a high figure for the region, but it has remained flat in recent years. A more aggressive growth has been documented in Saudi Arabia, with the percentage of Saudi women with jobs rising from 14% in 2019, one of the lowest in the region, to nearly 27% in 2019.

In her statement to reporters, Mead El-Amadi, director of the FIFA Fan Festival in Doha, said women who are involved in organizing the tournament will serve as role models for other women who wish to enter the business of soccer or sports in general.

According to her, football is a predominantly male sport throughout the world. In spite of this, she emphasized that women organizers had the support of their male colleagues “in order to make this happen and to make the world look at us today for delivering this major event.”

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