Women in Kuwait Can Now Get Passports Without Spousal Permission

Kuwait’s constitutional court ruled today that married women have the right to obtain a passport without spousal permission on the grounds that the requirement violates the principal of equal rights for women and men. This ruling reverses a 1962 law that required a husband’s signature to receive a passport, reports the Associated Press.

The ruling favored Fatima Al-Baghli, who claimed that her husband had been preventing her from leaving the country. “This law was behind many humanitarian problems, because a lot of men just wanted to hurt their wives, especially after [marital] separation,” Ali Al-Baghli, former oil minister told Reuters India.

Kuwaiti women’s rights activists are hailing the ruling, but continue to call for further advances. Activist Aisha al-Rsheid told the Associated Press “We want to see women judges and prosecutors, we want women to give their citizenship to their children, and we want women to have the right to state-provided houses.” Women in Kuwait won the right to vote and become members of parliament in 2004. There are now four women parliamentarians in Kuwait.


The Associated Press 10/21/09; Reuters India 10/21/09

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