What’s your mother’s name?

How can women win their full rights in societies that still see shame to mention one’s mother’s name in public or before others? In such male-oriented societies, most men consider mothers’ names as taboos and lifetime secrets that would ruin their lives if known.

I recently watched Kuwaiti, Saudi, Algerian and Egyptian TV programs and found that most of those taking part refuse revealing their mothers’ names in public and insist that declaring those names were mistakes, or rather sins, that should not be committed. The majority of the participants avoided responding to the question: What is your mother’s name? Is this how far manly Arab societies consider mothers’ names as taboos? If this is how we see one’s mother’s name, then what about how we view women in general?!

Yes, indeed. Women recently won political rights in Kuwait and can now vote and run for elections. But such pride is still incomplete because they still have not won their social rights according to such concepts. Therefore, they have not actually won the justice they have been seeking in male-controlled societies where men would not dare mention their mothers’, wives’ or sisters’ names in public. So, unless this changes, all the rights women already won will remain incomplete. Even political rights will democratically remain nominal.

One of the reasons of such views is how some religious radicals view women – as inferior to men. This does not only apply to Arab societies, but is also found in some advanced Western nations, where any scientific achievement made by women is seen as an exception, while those achieved by men are normal and beyond discussion.

I once recall a discussion with a senior official about granting citizenship to children of Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaitis. “Why should we? They should hold their fathers’ citizenships,” he argued, and when I told him that other Arab and Western countries do this with the children of their female citizens married to foreigners, he said: “She who chose to marry a foreigner should bear the consequences.”

“Then why do we allow male Kuwaitis married to non-Kuwaiti women to grant citizenship to their children and wives,” I asked. “Well, after all, women remain women and not men!” he answered, and when I reminded him that the constitution does not segregate citizens according to gender, he grinned and accused me of “only complicating the discussion”!!!

– Translated by Kuwait Times from Al-Anbaa

By Thaar Al-Rasheedi

Back to top button