Kuwaiti women attack draft law on equal rights

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A draft law aimed at protecting women’s social and civil rights in Kuwait has been attacked by prominent women in the country for “not going far enough”, it was reported Saturday.

Members of the Women's Cultural and Social Society (WCSS) said the draft law failed to address women’s working rights dubbing the document the “keep them at home law”.

In particular members of the WCSS had been hoping for improved housing laws giving full rights to divorced and single women, according to Kuwait daily The Kuwait Times.

The comments were voiced at a WCSS-run event last week where MP Faisal Al Mislim spoke as a guest.

WCSS member Sarah Al Duaij said: “We were hoping for something new. Everything mentioned here is part of laws already in place."

Another member Nidhal Al Humaidan added that, although the efforts to create the law are to be praised, the evident rush to draft the law had led to a lack of precision.

Vague legal language, including Article One of the law, which referred to women working in Kuwait, without specifying Kuwaiti citizens, was a loophole that would harm women across the board, excluding Kuwaiti women from the workforce, she pointed out.

The law was also unfair on men as it gave women the right to paid leave in the case of a medical family emergency, but did not extend the same right to men, Al Humaidan added.

“This law is refusing men a right they may need just as much as women. We should be thinking on a human level, not men versus women,” she told the meeting.

The new draft law sets out plans to ensure the housing rights of Kuwaiti women, regardless of their marital status and offers unemployed Kuwaiti women and housewives a monthly stipend.

Social grants and family benefits to working Kuwaiti women are also part of the new law, as is healthcare and education for the children of Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaitis.

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