Kuwait on International Women’s Day

Al-Qabas, Kuwait, March 8

Kuwaiti women do not have many rights. They still suffer from widespread doubts about their ability to practice certain professions. They are still prohibited from accepting defense industry jobs that are open to their male counterparts, such as the National Guard, military, firefighters and emergency medical services. We also see a lack of presence of women on the boards of companies, institutions, cooperatives and social unions, as well as in positions of responsibility in our local and national political system. The list is long: Kuwaiti women are not represented in municipal courts; they do not have clubs or sports groups dedicated to them; the rights granted to them by law are much less than those accorded to men; they struggle to manage inheritance, land ownership and even obtaining citizenship. Kuwaiti women are more likely to be victims of domestic violence or honor killings. Every year on March 8, developed countries around the world celebrate International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to women’s achievements and laws protecting their rights. In some countries, such as China, employees are given an official holiday to mark the occasion. In the United States, the day is marked by official announcements and various public events. In Italy, there is a tradition of distributing flowers to women on this day. International Women’s Day was first celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland in 1911. It gained momentum on March 8, 1917, when female textile workers in Russia began a protest and demanded “bread and peace” – an end to World War I, food shortages and tsarism. In March 1975, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution proclaiming an International Day for Women’s Rights and Peace. Since then, the day has commemorated the cultural, political and socio-economic achievements of women around the world. I hope that this year, on International Women’s Day, the Kuwaiti public will embrace the tradition of celebrating women and their achievements and join the battle to remove the barriers faced by women in Kuwait in all aspects of life. – Ghadir Mohammed Asiri (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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