The Exchange

The Exchange Opens Your Eyes to a New World of Women’s Stories

Dept. of Leading Ladies


Over the last few years, we have rightfully seen an increase in attention on women’s stories in film and television. The fight for women’s rights isn’t just about equal pay, the right to education, and living a life free of strife. It is also about the right to a voice and having your stories be told. Hollywood is trying its best to atone for past sins, while the rest of the world is busy playing catch up. In every sense. Which brings me to The Exchange.

Now did you know that in the late 80s, two women fought and made a successful career in perhaps the most male dominated profession of all time, the stock exchange? And what’s more, it didn’t happen in London or New York, but rather in Kuwait. I didn’t. All I know is that this is a story that should have been told a lot sooner.

Finance Bros Can Suck It!

The Exchange

This show blew me away. Not just because it was all completely new information to me, but also because it is a story that such a powerful story of female empowerment took place in the 1980s, and in the Middle East no less. This is one of those rare TV shows that perfectly balances its narrative and its messaging. Yes, it brings the conversation of equality to a bigger stage. Yes, it hopes to change some mindsets. But it never stops being entertaining in the process.

As a man, I have no personal experience with the struggles that you ladies face, but I do try my hardest to understand everything that you’re going through. I get it, men can be real shits from time to time, and watching The Exchange, I was ready to reach through the screen and punch every one of them in the face.

While this incredible tale does showcase the journey of how cousins Farida and Munira left their mark on the Kuwait Stock Exchange, there is so much more at play over the course of these six episodes. This industry has always placed women below men, and The Exchange really brings that to the forefront. Hell, even American movies like Wall Street, The Big Short, and The Wolf of Wall Street, reinforce that notion by not giving women the time of day. Which is why watching these two women fight tooth and nail to cement their place in such a cutthroat world was so incredibly inspiring. It made me wonder if this story is well known in Kuwait, and if little girls all over the country look up to these two as role models.

Having Your Cake and Eating It Too

The Exchange

It goes without saying that the powerhouse performances of Rawan Mahdi and Mona Hussain, as Farida and Munira respectively, are so incredibly engaging to watch. While on the trading floor and at home, the both of them beautifully showcase the strengths and weaknesses of their characters as they navigate this male dominated industry. Their performances are so internal and subtle that you are hooked from the moment they are introduced.

There is a lot here that we can relate to. Be it with the family dynamics of “finding a good husband,” or “providing for your family,” or “being a good housewife.” The way Farida and Munira navigate these issues make them such strong role models, not just for women, but for everyone. God knows nothing came easily for them. To think that there was a point where there wasn’t even a bathroom for women in the stock exchange, and that they had to go to a small restaurant across the street just to relieve themselves. It’s honestly sickening how oppressed these women were, but Farida and Munira were never going to lie down and stay quiet.

The Price of Everything

The Exchange

I’m ashamed that this is the first Kuwaiti production I have ever watched, and it’s astonishing how my eyes have been opened up to storytelling from that side of the world. This series could rival almost anything we’ve seen come out of Hollywood. It’s beautifully produced, with a well crafted script, and incredible performances. The Exchange will make you stand up and take a second look at the Kuwaiti film industry.

The Exchange is truly a tale of never underestimating the power of women as well as the challenges they face within family traditions and religious values. It is something that a lot of us can and will relate to. What’s more, it may also be the first story on screen about the cutthroat world of the stock exchange that’s told purely from a women’s perspective. Which automatically makes it a refreshing change of pace and your next must watch.

The Exchange is now streaming on Netflix.

Nick Dorian spent most of his childhood dreaming of being a plumber, mainly because he loved watching Super Mario go on adventures. When he heartbreakingly discovered actual plumbers don't go on great adventures in real life, he went on to sit in front of a TV or movie screen, watching more people go on adventures, and then talk to anybody around him about what he's seen, whether they liked it or not. Fast forward to today, he somehow managed to make watching movies and TV shows, and discussing them, an actual living. Which goes to show, dreams do come true. Except when you dream of being an Italian plumber who fights mushrooms and toads.

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