Kuwaiti MP calls for boosting women’s political empowerment

April 20, 2011

The political empowerment of Arab women is still short of desired levels and needs a boost to reach higher standards, according to a Kuwaiti lawmaker.

Following a session of the women parliamentarian’s commission on the sidelines of the 124th convention of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Panama City, Rola Dashti, a Kuwaiti MP, said: “The representation of women in Arab parliaments is only 20 per cent, short of the objective of 30 per cent set by the United Nations.”

Tunisia tops Arab countries in women’s political representation with 27.6 per cent, followed by Iraq with 25 per cent.

Globally, Rwanda is in the lead with 56.3 per cent and Sweden in second place with 46.4 per cent.

Dashti said the meeting discussed ways to increase women’s role in politics.

“Participants reviewed the culture of male dominance in societies, cultural discrimination against women, hard-line religious beliefs, old-fashioned views of women promoted by the media, and men holding senior posts. They also addressed legal frameworks for the prevention of violence in elections, practiced in particular against women,” she said, quoted by Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).

Enhancing women’s contributions in politics will bolster democracy in a dynamic manner, along with enabling society to benefit from women’s experiences as well as academic and scientific qualifications, she said.

“We hope to see greater representation of women in the next Kuwaiti government. We should have at least two ministers,” Dashti said.

Writing last week in Kuwait Times, Muna Alfuzai, a journalist, called for including more women in the government to be formed, but said that women have to speak out as well.

“I recently spoke with a woman we typically describe as an activist and told her that I really think the matter of appointing one woman in the government, and only in the position of minister of education, is not the only role for women in the government,” she wrote.

“However, I was surprised to hear that she is too frustrated to even attempt to make an offer or give an opinion on the matter because she feels no one listens and no one cares. I could not help wondering if we should all stand silent because no one will listen to us. I think the government and His Highness the Prime Minster will listen and act accordingly if women are sincere and believe in what they are calling for.”




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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