Here’s to her

By Fadia Alrefai

Growing up as a girl in a fairly conservative society, I was frequently reminded of the different lenses men and women were viewed through and how this lens portrayed me, a woman, to be the weaker link in society. However, on Wednesday, the 8th of March, I was reminded at the College of Law in Kuwait University that not only am I not the weaker link, but WE, the women of the Kuwaiti society, are the vital links that make sure the web of society does not de-thread.

On this day, that marks International Women’s Day, Dr Sarah Alsultan of the public law department, along with many other female elite professors including Dr Bashayer Almajed of the private law department as well as Dr Noora Alnaomi of the criminal law department, organized a seminar on the important and key issues that Kuwaiti women are struggling with because of legal gaps and flaws, under the patronage of the dean of the faculty of law Dr Abdullrahman Alradwan.

Dr Jenan Boushehri, a current member of the Kuwait parliament, joined as well, ensuring that female issues are within her political, legal and social priorities. The seminar mainly discussed the issues that Kuwaiti mothers of non-Kuwaiti children deal with, as well as the problems workers face when dealing with female prisons. Despite that this seminar discussed deeply legal and social topics, Dr Sara Alsultan generously invited me, reminding me and my generation that my role is to fill the legal gaps in order for the Kuwaiti society to be a healthier environment for women, and that future starts now.

To be honest, as a Kuwaiti young lady, my relatives always reminded me of the key role women played in the earlier Kuwaiti society. The economy prior to the late ’40s was mainly based on fishing and diving for pearls, which meant men would start their voyages in the beginning of April with the onset of summer and would not return until the beginning of August.

After the return of the divers, the merchants would then start their trading trips that would take around nine months. What this meant was for almost all of the 12 months of the year, our society was mainly run by women. This is when women played a prominent and key role in the infrastructure of families and Kuwaiti history. It is at this time that they took on the role of both men and women. This is also when our grandmothers proved that they are the reason why we are here today.

In conclusion, I cannot talk about women without talking about the strongest woman I know – my mother Dr Shorooq Alsawan. Ever since I was born until this very day, my mother has taught me the true meaning of womanhood, and that is sacrifice. She was and still is sacrificing for her home and children, and more importantly she is sacrificing for the wellbeing of her society by prioritizing building us, her children, the newer generation, to the best of her abilities.

Mama, on International Women’s Day and every day, I hope I can one day become the woman you are. Lastly, to every strong lady out there, to my sisters Nour and Farah, my aunts and grandmother Fadia, to my friends Alaa, Dalal, Jena and Muneerah, to my role model Dr Muneerah Alnemash. Thank you for being the support system of the society we are in today.

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