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Friday, January 27, 2023

Women are their own enemies

The concept of feminism is hard for many women in Arab countries to internalize and believe in, with women becoming their own enemies and fighting against their own power.

George Orwell furnishes a true and transparent take on how your enemy can be one of your own. While the “animals” gave their own lives to protect and maintain liberty of the “farm”, the conspiracy theory was machinated by one of their own, dividing the nation and weakening them to achieve their own greed and benefit to finally take power and control.

The concept of feminism is hard for many women in Arab countries to internalize and believe in, with women becoming their own enemies and fighting against their own power. It is obvious to say that many cultural aspects play a bigger role in structuring women’s mindset before being exposed to civil education and feminism. The idea of being independent and self-sufficient for many women becomes a taboo!

Now, the crucial part in building strong, independent women is actually to make women intellectually enlightened and help them believe that they are empowered enough to live and thrive. But resistance comes from women themselves. It’s a systemic abstraction that was generated politically, culturally and financially too, as we see the marginalization against the two female parliamentarians in the current National Assembly.

I look back at female voters with disappointment, considering the fact that women voters outnumber male voters in Kuwait, yet women are not able to endorse and empower each other in a manner that helps change the political scene and represent themselves in political and decision-making positions. Women become their own enemies when they devalue themselves and not appreciate their abilities enough or stand against any decisions taken to employ women in such positions. A good example of this are the female voices in many TV interviews against women taking seats in the judiciary in Kuwait.

It is disappointing to see interviews of women saying “women do not have the same intellectual capacity as men do”, despite the fact they have earned their position through equal education. The examples are many, but the root of this disadvantage goes back to the fact a great part of such discrimination is due to a lack of civic education, the cultural aspect that treats women as a lesser being since early childhood and prevents them from engaging in many normal activities.

Even though Animal Farm is an old book that goes back to 1945, the conspiracies, ignorance and nescience weakens women till today. Moreover, according to a great part of the diverse Kuwaiti culture, it is better for women to become financially dependent on a spouse or male relative than becoming self-sufficient, which definitely has its own negative impact on liberty and crucial life decision making, and live under the shadow of a male guardian rather than becoming their own source of power and protection.

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Atyab Al-Shatti is a bilingual Kuwaiti lawyer who currently operates the international department at one of the leading law firms in the country. She brings ten years of rich experience and a bachelor’s degree in law from Kuwait University to the firm. She specializes in corporate law, commercial law, and employment and labor, and she is admitted to practice before all courts in Kuwait including the Constitutional and Supreme Courts.

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