Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
Yes and yes. This is a very strict Islamic country. Many folks call Qatar "Saudi Lite" when in fact, in a lot of ways, it's far stricter than Saudi Arabia. Sure they sell booze here, but there is a very conservative undercurrent in Qatar, where in Saudi it's trending in the other direction. It's really been surprising to see how things have grown more conservative in the time we've been here.
As for gender prejudice/equality, again it's an Islamic country. You can expect all of the local Qatari women to be fully covered - full facial veils, gloves, abayas, etc. It can take a while to get accustomed to. - May 2017
Yes. The divisions between the "classes" are very apparent. You will see laborers being shuttled back and forth from their camps on huge buses, looking like they just had a very hard day's work. On their one day off a week, some of the malls and markets have declared those "family days," which means that single guys--i.e. the laborers--cannot enter. It's a pretty callous practice. Still, Qatar is making strides to improve conditions for and treatment of laborers in the country, due in no small part to the fact that they have a spotlight on them at the moment.
As far as gender equality goes, women are just as educated--often times more so--here than men are, and there are many women in high-powered positions. On a day to day basis, there is very little street harassment here. - May 2017
prejudice based on class or ethnic origin is so prevalent that it's mentioned casually. - May 2015
Yes, all of the above. Qataris are supreme, then other Gulfis, then everyone else is below that, but especially anyone who looks like the people they bring in as migrant workers (south Asians and Filipinos mostly) will be treated poorly. It's a very conservative Muslim country. There's a little church-town where all the other religions can practice (except Mormons, because the other Christians here held a vote and said they don't count... yes, seriously). Atheism is not even understood at all (and may even be in some ways illegal, I can't remember if that's still the case or not). And as a woman you'll just have problems in general with everything. You don't have to cover here, but you can expect to be leered at most of the time since you don't. There are a lot of male-only places that women either aren't allowed or are just made to feel EXTREMELY uncomfortable if they do venture in. Many male contacts just won't take you seriously as a woman. You'll probably get rude gestures made at you if you drive, and someone will definitely make an absurd comment about women not being able to drive (even though like 90% of vehicular accidents here involve men...) For men, you'll have some annoying access issues. You can't go to girls schools, or girls youth centers or clubs, or the women's sections of buildings or the university. You'll probably have fewer contact with female Qataris, and miss out on half the society. - Feb 2015
There is a bit of a caste system when it comes to South East Asians as they are the labor force here. - Apr 2012
Yes. - Mar 2012
There is quite a bit of prejudice/discrimination here, particularly towards South Asians and Filipinos, who form the the bulk of the workforce. Some of the malls have "family days" which technically implies that single men cannot go, but in practice does not apply to Arab or European men. I have not heard of women being excessively harassed here, but it is a conservative and male-dominated society. - Mar 2012
There remains a caste system for the SE Asians here. I fear that if you are SE Asian you may be treated like the low-wage labor. - Jan 2012
Racial problems exist as people from the subcontinent and Philipines are often discriminated against. Westerners and Arabs are above everyone else in the hierarcy. - Jun 2011
Yes. Qatari men are at the top, western men are just fine, then women below that. Everyone else is pretty much a menace in their minds. - Oct 2010
Absolutely. This is a conservative Muslim country. - Dec 2009
Yes. A woman is still not as important as a man and must ask for permission to work and travel. - Sep 2008