Meet the Match
An Advocate for Sport and Equality in Kuwait
Najat AlSayegh is living in the midst of historic changes taking place in Kuwait’s societal perception of women. Since gaining the right to vote in 2005, women in this small Arab nation have become increasingly involved in political life. In 2009, women won four parliamentary seats. Today, Kuwaiti women are looking for more governmental support and encouragement to empower them to reach higher political and social positions.
Najat aspires to political leadership, preferring to focus on the increased opportunities in Kuwait for women to find their voice rather than potential roadblocks. As the saying goes: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” She credits her family and sports for instilling in her the belief in equal rights for all. She has always believed in gender equality and has fought for this right since a very young age.
“In Kuwait, each school selects a group of students to salute the flag every morning,” Najat sats. “As a child, I desperately wanted to be chosen for this special duty. So one day, my two friends and I decided to practice saluting it. And my teacher came running for me and said I had to go to the classroom immediately because saluting the flag is only for boys. At five years old, I could not understand why my friend Fahad could salute the flag and I could not. My parents and I had a long talk with the principal, asking that I be treated with the same dignity and respect as the boys. Since that day, I have saluted the flag.”
As a child, Najat’s passion for Kuwait was only rivaled by her passion for sport.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from Kuwait University, and spending more than three years in marketing, public relations and event management, Najat accepted her current role as a project manager with the Ministry of Youth Affairs. Since January 2014, she has worked from her position within the government to open free sports clubs in communities where women have the least access, in an effort to promote participation and combat high rates of obesity and diabetes in these areas. She also launched a project called The Ugly Truth, part of the Women’s Empowerment Initiative (WEI), to train women in mid-management in soft skills like work ethic, teamwork and leadership, with hopes of seeing a two-percent increase in female business leaders within the next two years.
Najat’s passion for youth development, holistic health, and sports opportunities for women and girls, specifically basketball, could not be a better fit for Laura Dixon, executive director for community responsibility at Spurs Sports & Entertainment. Laura and her team are driven to be the most impactful sports organization in the world and are working on community-based programs in San Antonio to help them achieve this mission. Although they have many programs and causes that will be relevant to Najat, their passion for empowering underserved communities through health, education, and sport are most synergistic to Najat’s dream for Kuwait. Together, we feel these two will create incredible social awareness campaigns for each of their respective communities that will make both better places for the next generation. We can’t wait to see the results.Read the Blog Article