KUWAIT: Preparations to create a civil society in Kuwait started in the 1960s and have sense been promoted through the active efforts of civil society organizations as well as responsible citizens, a government official said.
Minister of Justice, Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Yaqoub Al-Sane made those statements during a seminar titled “Women’s role in politics” which was hosted by the Constitutional Unity Bloc (CUB) last Monday in Al-Salam. “We are capable of achieving the civil society goals, and women must be involved in this process,” he said. “Kuwaiti women are known for their distinguished role in this regard.”
Meanwhile, former MP Salwa Al-Jassar criticized the lack of programs that advocate women’s rights in Kuwait, which she said had stopped after the election season. “It was an achievement on a global level when four women were elected into the National Assembly (in 2009)” she said, noting that the officials should allow for a larger participation of women leaders in the government; for example by appointing at least four female ministers
From bad to worse
In the meantime, lawyer Najla Al-Naqqi said that the lack of forums which talk about the role of women in Kuwait was shameful. She stressed the need for political decisions that improve the level of women’s participation in the parliament as well as in taking leadership positions. She also highlighted the importance of changing the current mechanism “because things are going from bad to worse,” saying that this was the only way for women to gain their political rights. Naqqi also mentioned the example of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) who used to consult with his wives with matters pertaining with Islam.
Furthermore, Naqqi made it clear that the Kuwaiti Constitution guarantees equality between men and women “but we live in a society that looks down upon women, although women played a significant role in Kuwait before the discovery of oil. When their husbands left for pearl diving women stayed at home looking after their families.”
Also, Dr Hala Al-Hamidi said that history shows that Kuwaiti women participated in many domains, especially the political ones, but the actual participation came almost ten years ago. “A lot has been achieved during this period, but [women’s] share has been decreasing in the last two years,” she said. Hamidi said that “women were still under the influence of the cultural heritage and the nature of the society. In addition to that, there are many people who work against women, putting hurdles in their political way. It is clear that there is a lack of political parties that belong to women. This matter will give women greater political success and emerging opportunities for those who have the potential.”
By Faten Omar