Sunday, September 10, 2006

In Kuwait- The Women

Any writing about Kuwait or other mid-eastern country would be incomplete without a description of women and their lives here. There are many misgivings about the condition of women in this region I have seen Kuwaiti women primarily in the souks where my father has a shop too.

In terms of physical appearance they are second to none. Big beautiful eyes and an unblemished skin (mostly achieved by excessive make-up) are the most discernible features. Many of them wear stylish dresses- stylish by Arabic standards. This means their tops are knee length and you can spot the jeans beneath their abayas. Pink is the color of choice when it comes to tops, headscarves and even shoes.

The good thing amid all this modernization is that they haven’t forgotten their Islamic values. The scarves cover the head and hair fully. I know a person who has made a fortune selling hijabs or headscarves. I am heartened by the fact that women here haven’t forgotten their roots. After all, Islam is not just a religion; it is a way of life. Glocalization is the word.

Recently, Kuwaiti women were granted the right to vote and even contest in parliamentary elections. Kuwait is the first country in the region to grant equal voting rights to women. Obviously, this is a step forward and will answer those who are always looking to stereotype women here. I mean, look at women in Saudi-arabia, they are not even allowed to drive.

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