The world is changing fast; the Gulf too is changing, and the signs of modernization are visible everywhere. One is the acceptance of Gulf women’s participation in public life.
Today, women play a prominent role in the Gulf society. They have assumed leadership positions; they have become ministers, university directors, ambassadors, and lawyers, and have broken into the castle of justice, which historically was an invincible fortress of men.
The Gulf, which has always remained conservative and clinging to inherited traditions, is today in a rapidly changing state: politically, socially, culturally, and technically. Winds of change have blown over our customs, traditions, and heritage that is dressed up as religion, but which has nothing to do with our religion.
As a result of these changes, the Gulf woman became an independent personality, acquired the freedom for societal movement, and the most powerful castles erected against women have fallen in a male-dominated society. Even the preachers (guardians of the past), who were fighting modernization and the rise of women, have changed.
But there is category who is resistant to change and has remained attached to his position, just watching the accelerating social changes around him – the Gulf legislator. They remain rigid in their position on women’s rights and family legislation!
The Gulf legislator is still clinging to old theories in its legislations for women, internalizing past legacies, ignoring the new Gulf reality, not realizing that today’s Gulf is not the Gulf of the past and that the modern Gulf is not the old one. The Gulf legislator still lives in the cave of history; they legislate for women taking their ideas from old heritage books!
Everything has changed in the Gulf except for the legislator’s view of women; therefore, she still remains an imperfect sentimental being, who does not act well except under the guardianship of the male guardian.
The Gulf states issued constitutions that stipulated equal rights and obligations for male and female citizens, and signed and ratified international human rights treaties and pledged to eliminate all
forms of discrimination against women and adopted plans to empower women.
Nevertheless, the Gulf legislator continued to thrust his head into the sand, ignoring UN charters related to women’s rights, including the right of a Gulf woman to pass her nationality to her children. The nationality laws of the Gulf states make a distinction between citizen and citizenship, and so they give men alone the right to naturalize their children and withhold that right from women, in flagrant violation of their constitutions that clearly stipulate equality between women and men in the right of citizenship, and also in flagrant violation of all human rights charters that they have ratified and committed to, including the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women).
There is no just, logical, or legitimate justification for this discrimination and it is the right of every citizen to have the same right as her fellow citizen, as women are sisters of men.
There are several questions we must ask ourselves. Why does the Gulf man acquire all rights and not the Gulf woman? Why does a man have the right to pass his nationality to his children and not a woman to her children?
Why does a Gulf man have the right to pass his nationality to his foreign wife, and not a Gulf woman to her foreigner husband?
Why, when the whole world grants women the right to pass on their nationality to their children, the Gulf laws deny this right? Why do seven Arab countries do justice, namely Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, to their citizens and grant them this entitlement, and the Gulf refuses? Shouldn’t the Gulf do justice to its female citizens? Is it not the duty of the Gulf legislator to correct this flawed legislation as early as possible?
For how long do we leave a Gulf mother who is married to a non-citizen tormented? She suffers in silence and humility, burying her grief, hiding her suffering, and lives anxiously thinking about the fate of her children.
When will we do justice to the Gulf mother, this tender creature who changed the course of history and made civilization possible? How long will the Gulf remain a prisoner to its fanatic legacy? Can a Gulf country take an initiative to make this change?