Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Qatar Divorce Rate 12th Highest in the World

Today’s story in The Peninsula examines the increasing number of divorces this year, in relation to the number of marriages.

Not a single expert quoted mentions that perhaps many of these marriages were bad alliances in the first place. One expert continually mentions the problem being women having greater access to divorce.

It is no surprise that women who have access to divorce get out of bad marriages.

She is supposed to stay with a man addicted to pornography?

With a man who cannot complete the sexual act?

With a man with a drug problem?

With a man who is openly gay, and she is to provide cover?

With a man who has a fatal sexually transmitted disease which he neglected to disclose?

With a man who is still emotionally attached to his long-time girlfriend and was forced to marry another woman?

With a man who hits her?

With a man who ignores her and goes off with his friends all the time in preference to spending time with her? (Yes, expectations for marriage are higher now than they used to be. Times change. Expectatons change.)

(These are all stories told to me by local women about failed marriages.)

I’m not a big fan of divorce. I think marriage is serious business, and a lot of hard work. And I strongly believe that women need to have the exact same access to divorce that men have. I don’t see any of the experts citing male behavior as a possible cause of this divorce rate.

Divorce rate to reach new high this year
Web posted at: 12/30/2009 5:38:55
Source ::: The Peninsula / BY SATISH KANADY

DOHA: Qatar’s divorce rate is steadily going up. Crossing last year’s figure of 939 divorces, a total of 982 couples split in the country during the first 11 months of this year.

Going by the latest data released by the Qatar Statistics Authority (QSA), more than 80 divorces take place every month in the country. The 2009 figure is expected to cross the 1,000 mark once the figures for December come in.

According to the QSA, of the 982 divorce cases this year, 655 involved Qatari women. The number of non-Qatari women who split with their spouse during the period was 327.

The months of April, May and June witnessed a large number of divorces. While 127 women got divorced during the month of May, 107 and 101 women got divorced in June and April, respectively.

It may be noted that a recent international study identified Qatar as the country with the 12th highest divorce rate in the world. The country has 0.97 divorces per thousand people, it said.

The total number of divorces in the country in 1999 was 496. However, the number has grown steadily over the past decade and touched 997 in 2007, with a total of 721 Qataris and 276 non-Qataris getting estranged. Though the rate went down in 2008 (939), this year’s figures are expected to break the 2007 record.

The QSA’s figures are disturbing against the backdrop of the fact that the total number of marriages held this year in Qatar until November 2009 was 2,917, against which the number of divorces was 982.

Against the 266 marriages that took place last month, 90 couples got divorced. Of them, 57 included Qatari women. In the month of May, which witnessed the largest number of divorces — 127 — the number of marriages was 323.

Opinions are divided among Qatari social scientists on the data revealed by the QSA. While a section of them sees the divorces as a direct consequence of Qatar’s “culture shock”, others say QSA’s methodology in collecting the data is not foolproof and the figures do not seem realistic.

“The data collected from the courts need not necessarily reflect the exact divorce rate in Qatar. For, there are a large number of cases where the couples re-join after obtaining a divorce from the court”, said a Qatari woman scholar who is doing research on Qatar’s broken families and divorces.

However, Moza Al Malki, a prominent Qatari psychologist, said: “Qatari women’s exposure to the changing world and their growing self-reliant nature are the prime reasons for this social problem.”

Al Kula, a system that encourages women to approach a court if they are not comfortable with their partner, is also contributing to the growing number of divorces, she added.

December 30, 2009 - Posted by | Community, Cultural, Financial Issues, Living Conditions, Marriage, Mating Behavior, Qatar, Random Musings, Relationships, Social Issues, Statistics, Values |


  1. Can we please have more ppl like u 🙂
    love the way u wrote it!!

    Comment by BNDQ8 | December 30, 2009 | Reply

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  3. I am sorry, BNDQ8; it just makes me see red to see “experts” putting the blame on women. It is true – THANKS BE TO GOD! – that women have more access to divorce these days.

    I would ask the expert: Is it easier for a woman to divorce a man than for a man to divorce a woman in Qatar?

    I would ask them: Who initiates the majority of divorces in Qatar?

    *You can also substitute Kuwait, or Saudi Arabia in all those questions.

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 30, 2009 | Reply

  4. Argh. The entire article seems skewed – all the stats are about women divorcing, rather than about men and women, so it sets up the idea that this a problem caused by women before even mentioning the scholar. Argh, argh, argh.

    As for khul`, my understanding is that 1) it is a classical mode of allowing women to obtain a divorce in return for paying some sum to their husband, not some new thing, and that 2) unlike talaq, which men can do without needing their wives’ permission, women can only obtain a khul` divorce if their husbands agree. so phooey on all this blaming-the-women stuff.

    Comment by adiamondinsunlight | December 30, 2009 | Reply

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  6. Thank you, Little Diamond. This is one of several articles I have seen recently implying the (implied horrifying) rise in divorce is due to women having increased access to divorcing. No mention whatsoever of the issues facing young married couples, or the struggles they face. I am beyond rational now, it just makes me so mad that the women are blamed. No woman should be married to a man who makes her life miserable.

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 30, 2009 | Reply

  7. In the past women had to deal with all these issues and accept them because divorce was frowned upon.. Not to mention that they have no means to support themselves and would be a considered a burden on her family.

    Now times have changed, and women have the choice to leave rather than shut up and deal with these issues that you mentioned. They are educated, and independent.

    The experts may actually be right – I don’t see them blaming it on women,, just blaming it on the ease of divorce for women and the acceptance of it in their society, so more women are encouraged to seek divorce.

    Comment by enigma | December 31, 2009 | Reply

  8. I’m always happy to see you, Enigma, because your comments are always so educational. Please don’t think I am pro-divorce – I am not – but what I want is for women to have access to the same legal rights as men. And the same access to jobs by which she can support herself, and for equal pay for equal work. I want the best qualified candidate – man or woman – to be hired, and paid the same salary. I want men and women to work hard together to make their marriages work; I don’t want women to be afraid their husbands are going to divorce them, or to be unable to divorce from a marriage that is a disaster.

    I know there are other cultural issues, family ties, family reputation, etc. I’m just happy women are slowly gaining some equity before the law.

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 31, 2009 | Reply

  9. I think the reason none of the horrible situations you asked about above were mentioned as reasons for the rise is that some of them existed in the past as well. So in some cases the only “new” factors are financial independence, women’s education and ambition, changing expectations, etc.

    I find it sad that divorce is on the rise but frankly, most of the situations you mentioned above are much sadder than being divorced.

    Comment by 1001Nights | December 31, 2009 | Reply

  10. You make very good points, 1001, and put a different light, a different perspective, along with Enigma – I think I see what you are saying. So a part of the rise really is because women CAN?

    Here is my objection to the articles I am seeing – and everything I know is anecdotal, not statistical, and this is why I am asking – My understanding of divorce here and in Kuwait is that the great majority are initiated by men. When I see experts talking about the rise due to women’s increased access, I ask myself “what is the percentage of women seeking divorce compared to men?”

    An expert might say “It has doubled!” It could easily double, if 1% of divorce cases used to be initiated by women and now 2% are. What proportion of divorces are initiated by women? My bet is – and I repeat, this is just based on things people tell me in confidence – is that the vast majority of divorces are still initiated by men. What do you think?

    Comment by intlxpatr | December 31, 2009 | Reply

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