Sit Home and Get Paid!
Al-Qabas, Kuwait, November 10
I will surely get attacked for the opinion I’m about to share in this column, but it is still my view nonetheless. The Parliamentary Women and Family Committee recently approved a proposal to pay a monthly salary to Kuwaiti housewives who don’t work and have children – in order to allow them to take care of and raise their children. Based on the plan, a housewife with a university degree will receive 750 dinars; one with a post-baccalaureate degree will receive 600 dinars; and those with a high school diploma will receive 500 dinars. But my question is as follows: Who exactly will replace this cohort of working women who will now choose to stay home and take care of their children instead of working? And how will this shortage of labor be overcome: with Kuwaiti or foreign labor? Certainly, foreign workers will be needed to help out with this shortage, since the proposition for the average woman is very tempting: earn a paycheck even without going to work. What’s even more concerning is that the plan doesn’t list a specific age group or unique set of circumstances. That is, any woman, at any age and life stage, is eligible for the benefit. Therefore, this program is, from the very outset, set up for exploitation and abuse. Just think of all of the women who will cash out the government’s check each month only to roam around from one coffee shop to another, to meet with their unemployed female counterparts. It’s unfortunate that the government is only starting to realize the severity of this proposal now, after concerns have been surfaced by worried citizens. The National Assembly demanded a quick review of the program, but it’s too little too late. Narrow electoral interests should not triumph over our collective interests as a nation. These plans must be studied and examined thoroughly before they’re implemented, and not after they’re announced. Otherwise, their financial impact is very hard to reverse. – Iqbal Al-Ahmad (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)
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