An ardent supporter of women’s rights
This is the third in a series of articles on Professor Masouma Saleh Al Mubarak, a dynamic lady and the first woman appointed minister in the history of Kuwait.
Dr Masouma was in her last year of high school when she lost her father, his passing away left her shocked, bereaved and utterly perplexed about her future.
As mentioned, Mullah Saleh was a man with modern ideas who greatly encouraged learning for both boys and girls. Losing his support at the time she was about entering university, made her afraid that her elder brother would not allow her to continue her higher education.
She was therefore; immensely relieved when Hussein supported her decision of entering the Kuwait University, he also did not object to her choice of subject, though he thought it was quite new for a girl.
In the year Masouma enrolled at the Kuwait University, the curriculum had been expanded with new subjects; Political Science was one of them, immediately she chose it.
Knowing she was the first Kuwaiti girl entering that field filled her with subtle pride, but her greatest satisfaction was in understanding the rules of politics and in finding the answer to those questions that had been nagging her for years.
Inevitably Masouma excelled in her study, from the Kuwait University she received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 1971, two years after (in 1973) she got her Diploma in Planning from the Arab Planning Institute in Kuwait.
During that time, from 1971-1974, Masouma became an Economic Researcher at the Planning Board of Kuwait; she also became a Member of the Budget Committee at the Planning Boards of Kuwait.
Her passion in everything she did and her insatiable quest for knowledge gained her a scholarship to continue her post graduation study in the USA.
By then Masouma was married and the mother of a six months old baby girl, hence she was afraid her husband would object to her leaving the country. She was relieved and delighted when he not only consented to her furthering her education abroad, he himself was majoring in Political Science, hence, they could study in the USA together.
Masouma found in her husband a true companion and sympathetic friend. When she had to attend her lectures in the morning, he was scheduling his lectures for the afternoon, so nothing would interfere with their domestic duties. The situation became more complicated when they both decided to have a family while still young, but the arrival of their third child became too hard for them to manage alone.
It was then that her mother offered to help, and for two years, till the baby was older, she remained with them; that was the greatest gift a mother could give them.
In 1976 Masouma got her Masters in Political Science from North Texas University, Texas, and another Masters degree in International Relations from Denver University, Colorado in 1980. Two years later, in 1982, from the same University she got her PhD.
After her return home in 1983, Dr Masouma Al Mubarak served as Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science at the Kuwait University. It was then that she discovered a passion for teaching, with the same enthusiasm that drove her to search for answers to the questions that intrigued her for years she was imparting knowledge to students!
Teaching also helped her to constantly update the subject more close to her heart.
With the same enthusiasm as a visiting professor Dr Masouma delivered lectures at Universities abroad – from 1986-88 she was lecturing at the University of Denver and during the Iraqi invasion she lectured at the University of Bahrain from 1990-1991.
Twice, during her teaching career, Professor Masouma Al Mubarak was assigned Head of the Political Science Department at the Kuwait University; the first term was in 1985-87, and the second was in 2000-2001.
Three times Dr Masouma was made Member of the Administrative Authority and of the Sixth Committee in the Society for Teaching Staff, besides being Member of several High Committees in the Political Science Department, Member of the Committee for evaluating books for the Ministry of Information (National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters), and Head of the Dedication Committee in Library Administration.
Besides her involvement at the University, taking part in committees and teaching on Political Science, Diplomacy and Foreign Policies, Prof Masouma got also involved in journalism, writing columns in several local and regional newspapers – The Kuwaiti Al Anbaa, Al Watan, Al Qabas, Al Seyassah, and the regional Akhabar Al Khalij, the Saudi Al Watan and the Bahraini Gulf News.
Her writings verge not only on politics but also on human rights, especially on women’s rights, of which she became an ardent supporter from the time she was in the USA and became involved in the feminist lobby-group movement.
On the women’s issue Dr Masouma wrote voluminously to raise the attention on women status and their human rights. She also took part in numerous international conferences on subjects – “The Kuwait Women Social and Political Rights”, “Challenges to Kuwaiti Women”, “Employment Laws and Discrimination Against Women“, “ Human Rights in Kuwait”, “Justice and Human Dignity”.
Dr Masouma Al Mubarak’s literary contribution verges on “The Role of the United Nations in Peace Keeping in the Middle East”, “The Changing Role of the United Nations”, “External Policies of the Gulf Countries”, “ Small States in the International System “, “Case Study Kuwait”, “The Iraqi-Iranian War”, “Gulf Security in the Nineties”, “Relations Between the GCC and the Iranian Islamic Republic”, “Political Security and Education”, “Democracy and Education” and “Political Development in Kuwait” (1961-96).
Besides writing, Dr Masouma has been on scores of TV and radio interviews, giving her analytical political opinion and comments on salient problems, especially on the fast escalating Iraq-Kuwait crises in which she was particularly concerned.