Timeline – Kuwaiti women: Four decades of struggle for political empowerment

February 5, 2012

Timeline – Kuwaiti women: Four decades of struggle for political empowerment

 1971 (January 13): Women’s rights activists Nooria Al Sadani, head of the Ara Women’s Day Committee, submits a women’s political rights memorandum to the parliament. Lawmakers debated the issue during three sessions, but rejected it.

1972 (December 11): MP Salem Al Marzooq presents proposal to give educated Kuwaiti women the right to vote. Only 12 lawmakers supported the call.

1975 (February 15): Two lawmakers, Jassem Abdul Aziz Al Qatami and Rashed Al Farhan present a detailed draft law to empower women politically. No action was taken.

1981: Lawmaker Ahmad Al Fahad Al Takhim submits bill to empower women politically by giving them the right to vote and run in elections.

1986: Lawmaker Abdul Rahman Al Ghunaim presents bill to empower women politically.

1992: Lawmaker Hamad Al Jawaan present bill to empower women politically.

1994: MPS Ali Al Baghli, Abdul Mohsen Jamal, Abdullah AlNibari and Jassem Saqr submit bill to empower women politically.

1996: MPs Salah Khorsheed and Abbas Al Khadhari present bill to empower women politically.

1999: Emir Shaikh Jaber Al Ahmad expresses full support for women’s political rights, including voting and running in parliamentary elections starting in 2003. The government drafts a law for the political empowerment of women. However, the parliament rejected the draft by a two-vote majority.

2002: Constitutional Court throws out case by two Kuwaiti women against the interior ministry for not allowing them to register their names in the electorate.

2003 (May 11): The government approves amendments to the municipal law allowing women to vote and run in municipal elections and to be appointed to municipal councils.

2004: Government presents bill to parliament to amend the elections laws to allow women to run and vote.

2005 (May 16): The parliament votes to give women their full political rights, including running and voting in parliamentary elections. The motion was supported by 35 lawmakers and rejected by 23.

2006 (June 5): Two women, Shaikha Fatima Al Sabah and Fawzia Bahar, were appointed to the Municipal Council for the first time in Kuwait’s history.

2006 (April): Jinan Bushehri and Khalida Al Khedher became the first Kuwaiti women to contest in a municipal election. Ruqayya Hussain Ali, 73, made history by becoming the first woman to cast a ballot in Kuwait’s history.

2008 (May 17): 27 women from the five constituencies ran in the parliamentary elections. None of them won, although Aseel Al Awadhi, Rola Dashti, Fatima Al Abdali and Dhekra Al Rasheedi obtained high scores.

2009 (May 17): Four women win in the parliamentary elections for the first time in Kuwait’s history Maasooma Al Mubarak (the first woman minister in Kuwait), Salwa Al Jassar, Aseel Al Awadhi and Rola Dashti.



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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