Women Rights

Attorney Fajer Ahmed
Attorney Fajer Ahmed

I am not very comfortable writing an article titled “Women Rights”, as I was never really involved in women or gender rights. I know there are major differences between a man and a woman biologically and of course legally, but I never wanted to pick a gender and I understood (from my own humble experience) that both genders faced inequality or misinterpretation in Kuwaiti law. People expect me to be a female activist just because of the fact that I am an outspoken female attorney in the public but I have always felt the urge to speak about other things, like worker rights and racism. Also I have always been interested in the commercial aspect of law and not the political, but nevertheless I wanted to take the time today to talk about some issues that we are facing in Kuwait and the region concerning women in the GCC.

The West looks at the GCC thinking that women are oppressed, oppressed in every way possible, what we can do and not do in public, what we can wear or not wear, who we marry and so on. Possibly true for some woman but for the majority it’s a choice we take. Or at least that’s what most people say.

I think for me and for other young women, we weren’t forced but we are definitely pressured into making those choices. No one held a gun to my head to act a certain way but I defiantly felt the peer pressure to do certain things, and sometimes the pressure comes out of love or care, but how do you stop it? It’s not illegal and is it really practical to make it illegal? If you don’t comply to their pressure, you lose your most precious support system, your family. Even if you know your rights there is not much you can do. I know that this article is supposed to be a legal article so I will refrain from talking about my experience, but I highly suggest you read an article published a few days ago in the Kuwait Times by my colleague and friend Nejoud Al-Yagout “A Thinly Veiled Sideswipe”. Instead I will continue talking about Kuwaiti laws that really should not exist anymore and are a disgrace to our legislative system.

Article 153
Question: I have heard a lot about Article 153 or about abolishing Article 153, can you explain more about the article and whether or not you think it should be abolished? If so, why?

Fajer: Article 153 from Kuwait Penal Law (criminal law) states that a man who kills his mother, sister, daughter or wife, or a man that has been sexual active with his mother, sister, daughter or wife, will only be accused of a misdemeanor punished by three years jail time maximum and/or a fine. The man has to be in a state of anger and shock, he has to walk in on the action. Of course I think the article should be abolished. I understand that the woman’s act is punishable by law and any sex outside of marriage is punishable by law, for both men and women equally, but that doesn’t give the man an excuse to kill someone.

I would like to mention that you have probably heard a lot about Abolish 153 because there is a movement under that name, that has really worked hard to bring awareness to the matter. The movement not only aims to bring about legal change and abolish the article, but to also provide support to those affected by the law. They are also very creative, bringing awareness to their cause through exhibitions and other fun events, please check them out at

Alone at police station

Question: I have heard that women should not go to police stations alone in Kuwait. That the police might try to take advantage of the fact that a woman is alone at a police station.

Fajer: To be completely honest with you, I had to think twice about using your question. I want my articles to be honest, because I believe that honesty can bring about change but I also don’t want to write negative things about my country that I love so much and I want to see it change to the better.

I am sure that there are a lot of police officers in the country that are working day and night to keep us safe. I feel so grateful for all their hard work and commitment, and it’s not an easy job. I really appreciate them, but that doesn’t mean that the stories that we have heard don’t have truth behind them. With that said, I think you will be perfectly safe going in to a police station, just dress respectably and be aware of what is going on.

Of course there are other laws that I believe should be abolished or at least looked into regarding woman. I will be focusing on this topic next week as well, so if you have any questions (or about any other legal topic) please send them over to [email protected]

By Attorney Fajer Ahmed

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