SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Ms Jawaher Ali Reda

BA (American University of Kuwait), MA (SOAS)
  • Research


Jawaher Ali Reda
Ms Jawaher Ali Reda
Email address:
Thesis title:
Living Outside State Law: How Stateless Women in Kuwait Access Justice and Pursue Human Rights
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors


My professional experience over the last 6.5 years has been with the United Nations Development Programme. I have served in the Kuwait Country Office (2011-2013), New York Headquarters (2013-2015), Regional Office for Arab States in Jordan (2015-2017) and been on a short-term mission to Afghanistan (October to November 2014). I have assisted the development of a youth programme in Kuwait, and a human rights and justice project in Afghanistan, as well as provided oversight and support to UNDP country offices in the GCC. I also supported the implementation of a global philanthropic foundations strategy and due diligence of private companies.

My master's dissertation at SOAS was entitled ""Maintaining categories: Hadhar and Badu of Kuwait"" around the man-made factors that have intensified tensions between hadhar (urban) and badu (tribal) people since the Gulf War in Kuwait.

In September 2008, I participated in a Video Workshop in Visual Anthropology in Sardinia, Italy taught by ethnographic filmmakers, David and Judith MacDougall. My interest is to explore how visual anthropology can be used as a medium to spread awareness, create cross-cultural understanding and shed insight on some of the most pressing issues affecting humanity today.

PhD Research

Topic: Besides addressing the obvious concern that statelessness is a violation of international human rights law (which upholds that every person has the right to a nationality), my PhD dissertation seeks to produce in-depth insights into the lives and everyday experiences of the bidoon (stateless) in Kuwait. My research will have a particular emphasis on the experiences of women, who can be argued to be the most marginalized. Using legal anthropological theories, I aim to examine how women within the community make lives outside of the law.

Research questions: How do bidoon women experience or address gender based violence and other forms of discrimination in a setting with no access to state justice systems? What implications does the absence of legal protection have on bidoon women who struggle for redress mechanisms and greater empowerment? Does Shari'a play a role in supporting women within the community to settle disputes? In the absence of law enforcement and no access to state justice systems, to what extent is Sharia practiced and upheld? Put differently, does the practice of legal pluralism in Kuwait allow stateless women access to some form of justice? Most importantly, is it possible to consider that stateless women (with no access to state justice systems) are not necessarily prevented from accessing justice?


  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office Chevening Alumni
  • UNDP Junior Professional Officer Alumni Association (JAA)


  • Human rights
  • Justice/injustice
  • Gender
  • Issues of inclusion/exclusion
  • Legal anthropology
  • Development
  • Middle East
  • Gulf countries
  • Kuwait
  • Visual anthropology