Gender Equality in Kuwait
Updated: Feb 17
By: Skout Al-Barjas
Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. Gender equality refers to the equal participation of women and men in different life domains (e.g., the economy, social life, politics, education) (Wikipedia).
Women and girls represent half of the world’s population and, therefore, also half of its potential. Gender equality, besides being a fundamental human right, is essential to achieve peaceful societies, with full human potential and sustainable development. Moreover, it has been shown that empowering women spurs productivity and economic growth.
Unfortunately, there is still a long way to go to achieve full equality of rights and opportunities between men and women, warns UN Women. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to end the multiple forms of gender violence and secure equal access to quality education and health, economic resources and participation in political life for both women and girls and men and boys. It is also essential to achieve equal opportunities in access to employment and to positions of leadership and decision-making at all levels. The UN Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres has stated that achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world (UN).
Women in Kuwait are discriminated against in many aspects of their life and their personal liberties are severely restricted, both by the laws of Kuwait and by Kuwaiti society in general.
In Kuwait it is obvious that laws discriminate against women. For example: the Kuwaiti nationality law prevents Kuwaiti mothers from passing on their nationality to their children and spouses (who are non-Kuwaiti) on an equal basis with men. This can leave their children unable to access state services such as free healthcare and education. Gender discrimination in nationality laws is also one of the primary causes of statelessness in the region.
Another example of this gender discrimination is under article 153 of the Kuwaiti penal code. A man who finds his mother, wife, sister, or daughter in the act of zina (adultery) and kills them is given a reduced sentence of either a small fine or a maximum three-year prison sentence. I believe this law should be fixed to not discriminate against women by issuing the death penalty to the man who kills a woman for reasons of zina.
Gender equality is at the very heart of human rights and United Nations values. Protecting and promoting women’s human rights is the responsibility of all countries . Yet, many women around the world continue to experience discrimination in many forms .
Kuwaiti Women face de facto discrimination in access to government-owned property ownership as male consent is still required and biased cultural practices interfere with women’s rights to control or retain their property (Gender index.kuwait, 3). For example, women are continually treated as dependents of men under the Social Security Law (No. 22 of 1987) and the Housing Assistance Law (No. 47 of 1993).
Cultural stereotypes reinforce discriminatory legal provisions as well (Gender index.kuwait 3). For example, women cannot work between 10 pm and 7 am unless they work at a health institution (art. 22 of the Labour Code) (Gender index.kuwait, 3)Moreover, female labourers are prohibited from work that is considered harmful to their morals or exploits their femininity in a manner inconsistent with public decency, including employment which provides services exclusively for men (art.23)
On the bright side, Kuwaiti women have a long history of official political and social activism which started in the 1960s and continues today to promote and fight for gender equality.
What you can do to promote gender equality in your daily life is easy:
1-SHARE HOUSEHOLD CHORES AND CHILDCARE EQUALLY.
2-WATCH FOR SIGNS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
3-SUPPORT MOTHERS AND PARENTS.
4-REJECT CHAUVINIST AND RACIST ATTITUDES.
5-HELP WOMEN GAIN POWER.
6-LISTEN AND REFLECT
8-PAY (AND DEMAND) THE SAME SALARY FOR EQUAL WORK.
www.un.org › gender-equalityWeb resultsGender equality and women's empowerment - the United Nations