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Kuwaiti women mark 13th anniversary of attaining political rights
May 15, 2018, 10:09 am

 Kuwaiti women will celebrate Wednesday the 13th anniversary of attaining their political rights in May of 2005. On that date, the National Assembly's the Abdullah Al-Salem Hall witnessed a historic session that ended with the approval of 35 members to amend Article 1 of the electoral law to allow women to exercise their right to run and vote for elections. The struggle of Kuwaiti women and their long journeys had been crowned with the adoption of their constitutional and political rights with the support of their fellow men in many parliamentary assemblies.

In the 1971 parliament, MP Salem Al-Marzouq submitted a law proposal to grant educated Kuwaiti women the right to vote, and in the 1975 parliament, MPs Jassim Al-Qatami and Rashid Al-Farhan submitted a proposal to give Kuwaiti women their full political rights.

A number of MPs, including Ahmed Al-Takhim, Abdul Rahman Al-Ghunaim, Hamad Al-Juaan, Abdulmohsen Jamal, Jassim Al-Saqr, Abdullah Al-Nibari, Abbas Al-Khudari and Salah Khorshid, also submitted other proposals throughout the years. In 1999 and in recognition of the important and active role of Kuwaiti women in political life, the Cabinet of ministers announced at the end of its ministerial meeting the desire of His Highness the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to issue an Amiri Decree granting Kuwaiti women all their political rights.

On May 25, 1999, the draft law was submitted to His Highness the Amir, who approved it and was published in the official Gazette. However, the joy of the Kuwaiti women in this historic achievement was short-lived when it was rejected in the parliament of 1999 by the MPs according to the constitution. By 2005, a significant announcement was made with the inclusion of two women, engineer Fatma Al-Sabah and Fuziya Al-Bahr respectively, in the membership of Municipal Council.

In the same year, Dr. Masouma Al-Mubarak was included in the formation of the cabinet as Minister of Planning and Minister of State for Administrative Development Affairs, making her the first female minister in the history of Kuwait. Female ministers' legacy continued in the cabinet since 2005. Dr. Hind Al-Sabeeh, who was Minister of Social Affairs and Labor as well as Minister of State for Developed and Planning in 2014, continues to serve since 2016 as Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and Minister of State for Economic Affairs. After failing to land a seat at the parliament election of 2008, Kuwaiti women entered the race again in 2009, managing to win four seats in the National Assembly.

Dr. Masouma Al-Mubarak, Dr. Salwa Al-Jassar, Dr. Aseel Al-Awadi, and Dr. Roula Deshti became the first Kuwaiti women to be elected as MPs. Since the 2013 elections and onwards, Kuwaiti women maintained their presence in parliament. MP Safa AlHashim, winner of the 2016 elections, is the only female representative in the current parliament.

Source: KUNA

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