Kuwaiti women celebrate their fruitful struggle

Kuwait Times
Publication date: 
May 15 2015

Kuwaiti women celebrate today attaining their political franchise on May 16, 2005, when the National Assembly headquarters witnessed a historic session with 35 MPs blessing amendment of the electoral law's first article, thus granting them the right to vote and run for polls. This accomplishment capped long struggle by the Kuwaiti women for the constitutional and political rights, backed by men legislators, during a series of parliamentary sessions.


In 1971: The quest got started by the social-political activist, Nouriah Al-Sidani, when she addressed the parliamentary complaints committee, requesting that the women be granted political suffrage.


In 1971: MP Salem Al-Marzoug submitted a bill at the parliament requesting the educated women be granted election right.


1975: MPs Jassem Al-Qutami and Rashed Al-Farhan submitted a bill that called for granting the women full suffrage.


1981: MP Ahmad Al-Tukhaim requested amending article 1 of the electoral law to grant political rights for the women.


1986: MP Abdulrahman Al-Ghneim proposed a draft law for granting franchise for the women.


1992: MP Hamad Al-Jouan tabled a bill asking that the other gender be granted franchise.


1996: In December, MPs Ali Al-Baghli, Abdulmohsen Jamal, Jassem Al-Sager and Abdullah Al-Naibari tabled a draft law for the same purpose.


1997: An identical bid was made by MPs Abbas Al-Khedhari and Salah Khorshid.


1999: On May 16, the Cabinet announced desire of the late Amir His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to issue an Amiri Decree granting the Kuwaiti women full suffrage, in appreciation for their constructive role in building Kuwait and ensuring the country's progress in various fields, particularly their brave stand alongside the men in face of the 1990-1991 Iraqi occupation.


1999: On May 25, the relevant decree-into-law was submitted to His Highness the Amir who approved it before it was published in the official gazette. However, the women jubilation was short lived, for the MPs rejected it in a decree, on constitutional basis, with a narrow majority of only two votes.


Despite opposition to the women struggle for these rights, they had continued the action, seeking support from the judiciary and holding public demonstrations till May 16, 2005, when the parliament agreed during a marathon session on a bill to amend article 1 of the electoral law, with support of 35 members, rejection by 23, with a single abstention. First provision of the electoral law, after amendment, stipulated that each Kuwaiti, aged 21, enjoys full franchise, except for those who have been naturalized. Later on, the top leadership proceeded with further moves to grant the women their political rights.


2005: In June, the Cabinet announced naming Fatmah Saud Al-Sabah and (eng) Foziah Al-Bahar as members of the Municipal Council. In the same month, the Kuwaiti woman joined for the first time the government line-up. Dr Maassouma Al-Mubarak was named Minister of Planning and Minister of State for Administrative Development Affairs.


2006: In April, the Kuwaiti woman practiced its political franchise for the first time, when Jenan Boushehri declared nomination for municipal membership run-off.


2006: In July, Dr Mubarak was named Minister of Communications.


2007: In March, Dr Mubarak was named Minister of Health, while Nouriah Al-Subaih Minister of Education and Higher Education.


2008: Dr Moudhi Al-Humoud was named Minister of State for Housing Affairs and Minister of State for Development Affairs. Subaih was chosen to serve as Minster of Education.


2009: Four Kuwaiti women won parliament seats for the first time in Kuwait's political history. They are Dr Mubarak, Dr Salwa Al-Jassar, Dr Aseel Al-Awadhi and Dr Rola Dashti.


2009: Four Kuwaiti women won municipal seats.


2009: In January, Dr Humoud was named Minister of State for Housing Affairs and Minister of State for Development Affairs. Subaih was named Minister of Education.


2009: In May, Humoud was named Minister of Education.

2011: In May, Dr Amani Bouresli was named Minister of Commerce.

2012: In July, Dr Rola Dashti was named Minister of State for Planning Affairs and Thekra Al-Rashidi as Minister of Social Affairs.

2013: Hind Al-Subaih was appointed Minister of Social Affairs. - KUNA