Progressively prudent
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Progressively prudent

The first investment-management company in the Gulf region managed by ladies for the benefit of ladies will be inaugurated in January 1998. The Qatar Ladies Investment Company is the brainchild of 28-year-old managing director and shareholder Sheikha Hanadi Al Thani who saw a need to fill the very large gap in women's finance in her country.

The company is designed to have a dual function: to allow high-net-worth Qatari women to manage their assets themselves (at present, men still run the show), and to allow women to be actively involved in the running of an investment company.

Although a larger proportion of Qatari women than men have university degrees, their employment opportunities are substantially scarcer. "There is a disequilibrium between men's and women's work," explains Al Thani. "There is a centralized women's workforce in education and health in the government sector. We would like to have women expand into all sectors of the economy."

However, Qatari society calls for petite steps into the banking world for women. "We are not feminists by any means," she stresses. "This is a way to achieve equilibrium, not to divide men and women."

The company is a joint venture with Qatar National Bank, the country's oldest and largest commercial bank, which will provide training and resources in the early stages, and half the initial subscribed capital of QR20 million ($5.5

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