Women at 30
In this tiny, oil-rich country, wealth is not reserved just for royals. Zain explains Kuwaiti citizens get free education through college, free medical care and they don't pay taxes! When a Kuwaiti couple gets married, the Emir gives them a $12,000 wedding gift! Most native Kuwaitis also enjoy extravagant lifestyles—mansions, servants and lots of shopping. For example, Zain says her friends fly to Paris and Milan just to buy their wedding dresses. "You don't have to worry about your college education, so why not spend that money on your daughter's wedding gown?"
There are freedoms that Kuwaiti women do not enjoy. Though it's considered one of a few democracies in the Middle East, women do not have the right to vote. "There's nothing I can tell you right now that can justify that," Zain says. "It's a basic, civil, human right. We're considered to be a democratic country. Obviously that democracy is kind of lopsided. I don't mind at all taking it one step at a time. Because, you know what? When the women come on the scene, it's going to be amazing."
Even with Russia's rapidly growing economy, many Russian women still marry by age 24 and start their families before age 30. However, Russia has one of the highest divorce rates in the world: 65 percent of marriages fail.
However, as a 30-year-old woman in France, you have a one-out-of-three chance of being a smoker and you probably drink around 17 gallons of wine a year. The average 30-year-old French woman makes about $27,000 and she enjoys lots of vacation time because the government enforces a 35-hour workweek, with five weeks of paid vacation every year. C'est magnifique!
Brazil is also known as a mecca for plastic surgery because of the number of operations performed…largely on American women! Lisa Ling says, "I've traveled throughout South America—Columbia, Venezuela, Brazil—and I'm always shocked by how many American women I encounter there because [plastic surgery] is less expensive…and you can vacation in Rio while you're recovering." They also do more bottom implants there than anywhere else in the world!
"Life in Communist Cuba can be a struggle, even if you are at the top of your profession," reports CNN's Lucia Newman. "A doctor, a dancer or a waiter all earn about the same, roughly $23 dollars a month. Ninety-nine percent of Cubans don't even own a car. Although salaries are low, the state provides for all health care and education through college, plus some basic food rations. Abortions are free, too. By the time a woman is in her 30s, she's had an average of four abortions."
Traveling between Mexico, the U.S. and Spain, Patricia admits she has started working out like an American, but she's amazed how much Americans work. "Here in America you have to work all day long. [In Mexico,] we're still siesta-ing. And, the same as in Kuwait , we take a two-hour lunch break." And Patricia says Americans drink tequila "all wrong." "[In the U.S.,] you do shots and the whole point is to get wasted, and that's not the thing, you know? You're supposed to sip it like a cognac." Patricia knows how much Oprah loved tequila at her 50th birthday bash, so she brought Oprah a very rare tequila called Ago Varrail.
Also, did you know that in Mexico there are really high rates of infidelity—for married men and women? Patricia says, "If you're a woman getting a divorce on the grounds of adultery, your husband might not be held responsible if he says you didn't meet his conjugal rights. If a woman is held responsible for 'pushing' him to adultery, she loses the right to receive alimony forever. Infidelity is a cultural thing."
Bi-weekly massages are a way of life for Paula. A one-hour massage here will cost her between $7–$10 U.S. And Paula says many Malaysian women don't pluck or wax to remove hair—they use a procedure known as threading. "I don't know how [the threaders] do it. They get really precise. It's painless and it only costs five ringgit. That would be about $1.15 in America."
What you may not know about living in London is that it's a real challenge to find a mate. For every single man, there are at least four women chasing after him!
"I'm not like I was before," she says. "Seven years ago, I had no hope. No joy. But on this day, I'm very happy. I feel I'm okay. I'm like other people."
Henriette's dream has been to go to college—Oprah's Angel Network is going to send her there!
"I mean, welcome to the real world," she says. "For me, as an Iraqi woman, I don't feel safe. Anyone can attack me. Anyone can rape me. Anyone can even kill me, you know? We are full of fear. Iraqi women are losing their freedom instead of gaining freedom, because there is a lack of security. Now we're supposed to be free. But now we are more afraid."
Most Iraqi people are living in misery, and Sabah says when her life became unbearable, she turned to Valium for escape. In Iraq, Valium is sold without a prescription and costs only 20 cents a bottle. Sabah says the constant state of fear is driving more and more women to the highly addictive drug.
"The first month after the war, the first sector that got targeted was women," Zainab says. "The rape and the kidnapping of [Iraqi] women happened in June and July [2003.]" Zainab explains since the liberation of Iraq, law and order have collapsed, leaving many women terrified to leave their homes and literally in the dark. "There's chaos. There's anarchy. There's no police force. There's no system anymore. The electricity is on two hours a day, off four hours and it's 120 degrees in the summer. So the electricity situation, which we have to notice, has economic impact. A lot of women who are running businesses in their homes are no longer able to do that. It has a security impact, because, especially in the winter, you know, it's darkness. An education impact, because in school, the kids are no longer able to do their homework. And it's basically taking a toll on everyone's life."