I recently visited Kuwait and was very surprised on how advanced they are compared to neighboring Saudi-Arabia. I had an image in my mind of Kuwait as being a post war-zone developing country. Although these countries share similar demographics, culture and history, they seem to be in different millennia when it comes to civilization and progress.Although being in Kuwait seemed very similar than Saudi-Arabia, it was as if taking a step into the future. Perhaps in another 100 years KSA can catch up with this tiny but efficient and advanced Muslim country.
Kuwait is definitely more advanced in many areas, yet it has managed to preserve its culture and Islamic practices without becoming another Dubai or Bahrain.
In fact Kuwait ranks as the top Arab country in the HDI (Human Development Index). Unlike its “Big Brother”, Kuwait is categorized as a developed country and also has the highest literacy rate of the Arab world.
Here’s some things that work in Kuwait but Saudi lacks altogether or drags way behind in:
Public parks are everywhere and can be used by everyone. Saudi-Arabia has been catching onto this, but public parks and green scenery especially in Riyadh are very scarce. They have started many projects to improve this in Riyadh but the difference is in Kuwait you will forget you are actually in the middle of the desert.
Both countries still have it for foreign employees, but Kuwait has plans to abolish it in February.
What it ultimately comes down to in my opinion is the amount of rights these two countries give their women. A country is as strong as its women are.
Women contributing to society is behind Kuwait’s success and advancement.
By allowing women to live with equal human rights in society the country has prospered after the devastating incidents of the Gulf war.
Some recent advancements in women’s rights in Kuwait:
Women can have their own passport without approval from husband which remains only a dream to Saudi women due to the slavery mahrem system.
Women are allowed to vote and in 2009 four were elected to parliament. There are female ministers in Kuwait, but there is one as deputy minister in KSA too.
In both countries education of women is seen as important and they make up 70 % of the university students, yet Kuwait is the one enabling the women to use their knowledge for the benefit of society. The employment rates for women are 42.5% vs 14.5%. Saudi women tend to find jobs mainly as teachers, of other women, so benefiting the society as a whole and being seen working in public is very rare in KSA. In Kuwait, women are visible in public and working in various places in society.
What is the factor that enables Kuwait to take these major steps, yet Saudi always seems to need “baby-steps” for any kind of progress? The answer can’t be just the size differences. Kuwait has transformed itself from a bomb stricken land fill to a flourishing and modern Arab country proud of its heritage.
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Hello there! I’m Laura, the founder of Blue Abaya- the first travel blog in Saudi Arabia, established in 2010. Travel has always been my passion- so far I’ve visited 75 countries and I’m always on the lookout for new adventures inside and outside of Saudi Arabia! Follow my adventures in Saudi and beyond on instagram: instagram.com/blueabaya
HI Laylah, I just finished reading your blog, all in one sitting, and I must ay i am very touched. You have way of making the immpossibilties of living in this city to tolerable and almost sound attractive. I am new to riyadh, 2 weeks and have come here from toronto canada. I am looking for meet like minded individuals in riyadh to make my stay here more rewarding and full of new friendships. What can you suggest about where to start, how to get involved, where to get involved. etc etc.
Salam aleikum sister,
I just wanted to thank you for this interesting post. Based on what you just wrote, I would like to visit Kuwait one day, insha Allah!
welcome to my blog and thanks for your comment :))
i think you have a great attitude and for sure you will enjoy your time here :)
It depends a little bit of what your interests are, where you could get started.
have you heard of the Hashing groups? thats a good place to meet new people!
Could you email me more about yourself like where you work and how old are you etc and I will try to help you the best I can!
I will also give you the contact details for the hash harriers and some cool canadien people if you wish :)
aleikum salaam nadia,
I can definitely recommend a visit to Kuwait!
it was really such a pleasant surpise! I dont know why I had this image of a bombed worn out city in the middle of the desert :D
shukran for sharing.
my only point here is comparing kuwait to saudi arabia is like comparing how easily u can build a small town house to a mansion,the size of both countries definitly influenced the pace of its development.
though i agree with everything u said.
Thank you for your comment huh!
Huhuh-I think you might need to understand first that was a totally sarcastic comment I made regarding the abayas :))
Can you please provide a link to statistics to back up your statement about rapes because this interests me, is it really so or is this just our media that tends to exaggerate the isuue. thanks!
“Women are not forced to wear abayas and yet for some reason the young men are able to control themselves. Amazing!”
Well, I’m sure you are aware that outside the muslim world men are able to control themselves.
You don’t see men harassing women in shopping malls in western cultures. Except maybe immigrants from muslim countries, who are also strongly over-represented in rape statistics in Finland, Sweden, Norway and probably in all Western European countries.
This is something that simply cannot be denied.
And what Kuwait can learn from Saudi Arabia is not to leave their country in drove during the summer (including the arm forces), and make it venerable for invading armies. :):)
about the corniche thing, You clearly haven’t been to Khobar or Dammam. Their corniche is imppresive, even Kuwaitis visit it. Saudi Arabia is not only Riyadh and Hajaz lol. We do exist in Khobar hahah
you should visit Al-Khafji (kuwait border) in saudi . where you will find the best beach in whole Saudi Arabi..where the water is clear not like khobar or dammam where the water is muddy…and unlike jeddah you have waves not dead beach..
[…] 8. Kuwait Saudi-Arabia’s tiny little neighbor is greatly under valued as a tourist destination. Only an hour flight away from Riyadh, Kuwait is definitely worth a weekend trip and great for a quick getaway from Saudi. Personally I like the vibe here more than for example Dubai. Read more about Kuwait here. […]
I am a teacher. I got two offers… One from a Saudi National School, another from a Kuwaiti International school. saudi school will pay me US$1000 more per month. My daughter is 6. She needs to have some friends.
Which one should I choose.