I have a confession to make: Kuwaiti women have renewed my hope in the Arab world, especially when it comes to the issue of Arab women’s rights. Kuwaiti women fought for years until they finally got the right to vote and run for parliament. It was today that we saw this materialize, as elections took place with the participation of female candidates for the very first time in the history of the Gulf emirate. The reason I’m so enchanted by this major step is because it is positive development amidst the plethora of heart-wrenching regional news.
The Washington Post ran a profile today of Kuwaiti female parliament candidate Rola Dashti. It is worth a read. In addition, Mona Eltahway wrote an article on this important development for the New York Daily News. Here is an excerpt:
Whether Kuwaiti women win any seats or not, they can rest assured that not only have they made history, but they are chipping away at the excuses that for too long have held back their sisters in Saudi Arabia, the regional powerhouse. Last year, Saudi women were denied the right to take part in their country’s first nationwide elections. Advocates of women’s rights there will surely seize on the sight of women in neighboring Kuwait voting and running for office to strengthen their own case for getting to vote in the 2009 Saudi elections. It is a big step in the right direction.
Indeed it is a big step and a very inspiring one as well.
500 women!? You do realize that more people show up to a school soccer match!
This is not “snatched” their rights from the evil men. They were given (what’s rightfully theirs) back!
Not to say that it wasn’t a struggle or downplay their activities. But 500 women don’t represent the society (and knowing the Arab media that number is probably inflated)
Anyway, I’m glad women got their rights. We really need more diversity in parliaments. And the Amazing role that people like Tojan Faisal has done in showing that women are capable of dealing with these duties maybe better than many men
Qwaider, I’m sure some of the thrust of your idea is on target, actually the Kuwaiti women have protested and demanded their rights. Natasha wrote about it some time ago here:
Actually there were lots of demonstrations leading up to women being given the franchise, but you’re right, it was also pushed through Parliament by the late emir, who hoped to shake up the system.
Qwider, I work in software industry as well, and we have women as much as men working togather in our company. I have no idea why women seem more interested in quality assurance work rather than development althought we have increasing number of women as developers of software.
Anyway, thx Natasha for the news. This is really a big achievement for women in kwait. Hope they succeed in winning seats in the parliament. I hope that Jordanian women can gain more power and get more seats in our parliament next election as well.
The bottom line, no woman won in this election!
Although I salute the move. I have doubts regarding who and why was the move made in the gulf state
I just can’t recall seeing a single piece of news about female demonstrating or making demands to be given their rights and rather sounds like it’s been an Amiri decree
Regardless of the reasons, people everywhere in the world need to understand and value diversity in all aspects, not only Parliaments.
I work in the Software industry and we suffer from lack of interest of women in this interest. If you look at any piece of software, you can feel that it’s quite hostile to women. Not by intention but rather because the men behind it just can’t cater for every segment. The reason I gave this example is simply to show that Diversity help create better software, better cars, better societies. We just can’t take a single point of view and consider it the norm. Someone needs to let people know what they’re overlooking because they’re don’t understand it
Best of luck for the Kuwaiti women, and hopefully other societies would follow