|The family has always been important in Kuwaiti
society and traditionally the family meant the whole extended family or
clan. The homes of most Kuwaiti people were large and accommodated several
generations of family members. Modernization of Kuwaiti society has changed
that. Families are now commonly broken into small family units, who live
in separate homes. Related families still tend to cluster near each other.
Social relations and family obligations are still conducted and expressed
through the extended family. Parents usually reside with one or more of
In the past, men and women in some Kuwaiti families
were segregated in daily life. Marriages were arranged and gender roles
were clearly set. Men worked to provide for their families, while women
raised the children and maintained the home. Larger traditional homes were
designed to separate the lives of the two genders.
Traditionally, the Bedouins depended
on camels, sheep and goats for their survival.
|The modernization of the last few decades has
led to greater flexibility in gender roles and family relations. Marriage
outside the extended family is more common now, although parental consent
remains vital. Women now have the opportunity to work outside the home
and segregation within the home and extended family is diminishing.
Kuwaitis traditionally value large families. The
number of children, particularly sons, was associated with prestige and
honour and five or more children in a family was the norm. While children
are still a source of great pride and joy, Kuwaiti families now average
three to five children. The care of children has been the primary responsibility
of mothers supported by other women from the extended family. The recent
affluence of many Kuwaiti families, however, has provided the opportunity
to supplement traditional extended family support by importing nannies
and other servants.
The vote in Kuwait's electoral process
is provided only to men. Women are not allowed to vote.