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Kuwaiti Women Win Parliament Seats

Kuwait elected its first women lawmakers to seats in Parliament Saturday. Four women, including the country’s first woman cabinet member, former health minister Massouman Mubarak, won seats in an election where Sunni Islamists lost 8 of the 24 parliamentary seats they currently hold. The other women include Rola Dashti, a women’s rights activist, and professors Salwa al-Jassar and Aseel al-Awadhi. Kuwait’s parliament has 50 seats.

Awadhi said that her election and the election of other three women is “a victory for Kuwaiti women and a victory for Kuwaiti democracy,” reported the Los Angeles Times. Mubarak told the Associated Press: “Frustration with the past two parliaments pushed voters to seek change. And here it comes in the form of this sweeping victory for women.”

Kuwaiti women, who comprise 54 percent of eligible voters, voted in parliamentary elections Saturday for the third time after receiving the right to vote and run for office in 2005, when the Kuwaiti Parliament approved an amendment to its election laws. This decision followed years of work by Kuwaiti women’s activists, and was widely celebrated despite possible restrictions.

Sources:

Feminist Daily Newswire 5/17/09; Los Angeles Times 5/17/09; Associated Press 5/17/09

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