Kuwaiti Women Move Closer to Gaining the Right to Vote

Kuwait’s Council of Ministers approved a bill this weekend allowing women the right to vote and to run for parliamentary election. The draft still needs to go before the full 50-member Parliament for approval.

According to Reuters, Kuwaiti women have been fighting for the right to vote for over 40 years. In 1999, Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah issued a decree granting women suffrage, but it was defeated in the 50-member house by a group of Islamists and conservative members of Parliament, reports Reuters.

Islamists, both Sunni and Shi’a, took more than one-third of the seats in the 50-seat all-male parliament. Kuwaiti women make up 70 percent of college graduates in Kuwait but they are less than 5 percent of the country’s decision makers, reports Reuters.

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Reuters 5/16/04; BBC News 5/16/04; Feminist New Wire 7/24/03

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