Govt urged to acknowledge public service of women
KUWAIT CITY, Nov 17: Huda Al Kribani is a writer, media person, a political and social activist who is standing for election this year. After completing her Bachelors in Political Science and Public Administration, Al Kribani studied International Political Economy for her Masters.
Over the years, Huda Al Kribani has played an active role in drawing attention to issues close to her heart through her writings. Her interests are many. She wants to work on integrating people with intellectual disabilities with society, thus giving them a chance to lead a more fruitful and happy life.
She plans to establish an independent public referendum that will strengthen the power of the people.
She also wants to change the patriarchal system and help women achieve, empower youth and to change the mechanism of the electoral system. On several important forums, Huda Al Kribani has spoken of the urgency of reducing dependence on oil and diversifying Kuwait’s economy.
With the world moving towards alternate sources of energy, she worries that Kuwait will economically suffer unless it moves fast.
In Election Talk, Huda Al Kribani speaks of her experience of joining politics, the need for the government to acknowledge the public service of women by offering them more ministerial portfolios, her experience of campaigning during the pandemic and her agenda, which is wide and varied.
Arab Times: What made you interested in politics? Huda Al Kribani: I graduated from Kuwait University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Since day one, I joined the University’s newspaper Afaq as a writer and activist. Also, I have always been keen to read and analyze national and international political affairs.
AT: Do you remember a specific moment or experience that motivated you to run and solidified your resolve?
Huda Al Kribani: Yes, that time for me was when the youth frustrated after they united together to bring down the corrupt government in 2011. I considered it an opportunity to have a role in the movement. I participated in debates and seminars to shed light on what was happening and to fight corruption. I addressed issues that empowered the minds of young people who are conscious and eager to build and develop the nation.
AT: Unfortunately, women candidates have not fared well in elections in Kuwait. What is the reason for this? What are the obstacles that women face while standing for elections?
Huda Al Kribani: The political experiences of women have to be paid attention to, and the solution would be to adopt the issues of women who were unable to take initiatives and to solve them in a real and effective way.
AT: Can the government step in to help matters?
Huda Al Kribani: There is minimal attempt to give women the role of a minister. However, women have proven that they are worthy in their many ministerial positions including Minister Rana Al-Faris and previously Jenan Boushehri and Massouma Al Mubarak. The government has to step up by including more women in the cabinet.
AT: Will it be wrong to say that one reason for women not winning is that not enough women are exercising their right to vote?
Huda Al Kribani: Of course, it is right that not enough women are exercising their right to vote. The latest statistics on the electorate indicate that the number of female voters in all districts is equivalent to 53%, which is more than the number of male voters. We should not forget that there are still some social considerations and restrictions that do affect the ability of women to vote, but all that will change with the awareness and performance of women in the future.
AT: Visibility for women politician as compared to their male counterparts is also a challenge. Am I right?
Huda Al Kribani: Yes, you are right, but we must not forget that women have played a part in politics for a long time. They have been involved in multiple roles as activists and analysts of political affairs since the constitution was established. And the situation changed in 2005 when women got the right to vote and stand in the election.
AT: What has your campaigning experience been like this year? This year, with the pandemic and restrictions in place, everything is different. How are you dealing with the limitations?
Huda Al Kribani: This is my first experience as a candidate, and it is definitely different this year because of the Corona pandemic. Campaigning this year is a unique experience. We have to depend on digital media and technology to reach the electorate and explain our programs and issues that we want to draw attention to. This is a challenge. It requires training to stand in front of the camera and explain your stand. But it has undoubtedly added to our experience. I communicate with voters on a personal level over the phone and attend some meetings while adhering to the terms of social distancing.
AT: How will the inclusion of more women in Parliament impact the course of development in Kuwait?
Huda Al Kribani: The participation of women in political decisions and them obtaining more parliamentary seats will guarantee further development and advancement in the homeland.
AT: What is your agenda as a candidate?
Huda Al Kribani: My agenda includes changing the electoral system mechanism, establishing an independent commission for the popular referendum to strengthen the people’s power, promoting women’s rights and empowering Kuwaiti youth and introducing laws for economic reforms and diversifying sources of income.
By Chaitali B. Roy Special to the Arab Times