KUWAIT CITY, July 30: The number of domestic workers in Kuwait as of December 2016 was 613,407, and Kuwaiti women who are dedicated to their household chores have reached 78,277 in number, according to statistics from the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI).
Al Seyassah daily explored the views of several citizens and specialists on reasons for the high population of domestic workers in the country and negative effects of the category on the upbringing of children in particular.
Some attributed the increase in domestic workers to welfare system and women pursuing their career. Others are of the view that women should be confined to their household for the sake of their children’s upbringing but unanimously agreed that domestic workers should be treated well.
Bu Abbas said Kuwaiti women before the discovery of oil used to run their households themselves without relying on domestic workers. He suggested women should be confined to their homes to take care of their children.
Aliya Al-Dufairi said Kuwaiti women pursuing careers are forced to bring domestic workers into their homes. She added the income of the husband now is not enough to cover the needs and expenses of the family, indicating Kuwaiti women have been contributing to the family income.
Bu Ali also said state welfare requirements and lifestyle of luxury necessitate the presence of domestic workers in houses. He noted the Kuwaiti housewives have need for more than one domestic worker, resulting in several negative implications especially in the upbringing of children.
Umm Ibrahim says she keep one domestic worker in her house as a care-giver and supervisor of her children only during her working hours but the caregiver tries all means to get the children attached to her in order to keep the job. She warned parents to not leave the supervision of their children to domestic workers as some engage in immoral activities with the children.
Professor of Psychology at Kuwait University Dr Owaid Al-Meshan pointed to psychological effects in children whose families depend basically on domestic workers in their upbringing. He said the children who grow up with domestic workers develop less affection for their mothers, which weakens their sense of belonging to their mothers. He called for specification of tasks for domestic workers to prevent them from replacing the mothers. He pointed out children adopt behaviors that are alien to Kuwaiti society from domestic workers.
For his part, Chairman of the International Islamic Human Rights Organization Mubarak Al-Mutawa said domestic workers are doing significant jobs, but mothers should be in charge of the basic upbringing of their children. He stressed on the need to treat domestic workers well to preserve dignity and honor as Islam teaches by caring for them, feeding them with what we eat and drink, and paying them in time. He called for the rights of domestic workers to be respected and urged civil society groups to spread awareness in this regard.
By Najeh Bilal
Al Seyassah Staff