Kuwait: Lulwa Al-Qitami

I shall continue my work to increase public awareness of women’s role in society's welfare and to explain that women's political participation is congruous with the religious teachings of Islam.

— Lulwa Al-Qitami

Lulwa Al-Qitami, born 1931 in Kuwait, completed her education in Edinburgh between 1952 and 1960. Illuminated by British women’s energetic participation in their society, she returned to Kuwait with a lifelong goal to improve the social, economic, educational status of Kuwaiti women. She co-founded The Women’s Cultural and Social Society (WCSS) in 1963 with the aim of gradually changing the local anti-women culture and opening a space for Kuwaiti women’s public participation. She placed children's welfare in Kuwait and elsewhere at the center of her consideration.

Inspired by British women’s dynamic participation in their society, Lulwa Al-Qitami mobilized a group of Kuwaiti women to found The Women’s Cultural and Social Society (WCSS) in 1963 with the aim of gradually changing the local culture that marginalized Kuwaiti women’s public participation. Lulwa says, "I worked with my team to mobilize the Kuwaiti society towards change." In order to get closer to the local community, Lulwa and her WCSS members set out on a simple but symbolic task in order to motivate people to get involved in voluntary social work. They set off to sweep the streets of Kuwait city in 1966, visiting many houses and introducing local women to the objectives of the WCSS. Lulwa refered to the arduous economic status of women and the challenges that they would encounter if they decided to go to work, with the issue of looking after young children at the forefreont. The WCSS responded to working mothers' needs by opening its first nursery in 1974. Lulwa also put a lot of effort into getting Education College students of the University of Kuwait involved in the activities of the WCSS nursery in order to gain experience. In so doing Lulwa has managed to secure fresh annual university graduates to join the work at the WCSS and turn them into potential future volunteers. Lulwa is highly dedicated to alleviating the distress of children with special needs and health problems. In 1987 she was inspired to found Al-Amal ("hope"), a center with qualified psychologists that provides a positive atmosphere for children with cancer as well as follow-up visits from doctors.

The Women Cultural and Social Society (WCSS)