The Role of Women in Kuwaiti Politics
Kuwait is a rapidly growing modernizing country where women enjoy a number of similar social and civil rights that men do enjoy. The country has gone through numerous economic, political, and social developments throughout the 20th century. Regardless of this, rulers in Kuwait continue to cherish that fact that Kuwait can be a developed nation with its traditionally organized formation. The people of Kuwait dream that “Kuwait can be simultaneously a "developed" country and a "traditional" tribally organized” (Tetreault 204, p. 203). Social formation run by an autocratic ruler Rulers such as Emir Mubarak ...view middle of the document...
Muslim women have the freedom to carry out their religion. Women are comfortable with Islamic lifestyle by wearing the hijab. Kuwait women enjoy moderately unrestrained freedom of movement; they can travel abroad without male relative. A number of corporations send their female employees to overseas conference trips. It is not very common for them to face issues in their employment as a result of gender-related travel restrictions. Women aged 21 and above can obtain a passport without asking for permission from their guardians or husbands. The personal status law justifies male dominance over women Kuwait. Nevertheless, it requires husbands to provide support to their children and wives. Interestingly, Kuwaiti society keeps on upholding the conception that the role of women has to be primarily constrained to domestic sphere that comprise of taking care of children. This conception is the one that has strained the role of women in politics (Alibeli and Neil 57).
The struggle to attain the political rights of women in Kuwait has been a perennial issue in the politics of the country right from the adoption of 1962 constitution. This has also followed the passage of subsequent laws that govern elections. Just like a constitution of developed nations such as United States, the constitution of Kuwait does not discriminate between men and women as far as respect to rights of citizenship is concerned. Nonetheless, many laws adopted under the constitution like those that regulate elections do not favor women. In a number of occasions, Kuwaiti parliament has resisted repeated appeals for enfranchisement by women who are eager to enjoy the entire panoply of rights that are conferred to men by the country’s constitution. The fight of equal rights as men by women together with the 1999 surprising initiatives highlight the prominence of gender as an axis of conflict in the Kuwaiti society. In essence, gender politics in Kuwait acts as a proxy for group antagonisms.
The first women’s organization in Kuwait was actively involved in lobbying for broader involvement of women in equal political rights, labor market, and cultural as well as educational opportunities. The 1990-1991 Iraqi occupation of Kuwait became the turning point for the liberation of women’s social and political rights. It was during this period that a number of women assumed crucial social responsibilities and became essential in the continued existence of their beleaguered community. Some women volunteered in hospitals to compensate for the lack of medical staff (Juliá and Hadi 584).
Lack of civil status for Kuwaiti women was expressed in laws that denied them the political rights. Elite women who have been visible in various public arenas were published in press. Today, the president of University is women. The vice president of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation is a woman. Elite women in Kuwait use their positions to uphold the social status quo as well as to preserve class privileges....