Sunday, May 15, 2005

Kuwait, Women, and Middle East

On Monday, May 15, 2005 Kuwait granted women full political rights. Kuwait women can now vote and run for office for the first time in Kuwait history.

The surprise amendment to Kuwait election laws ends a decades long struggle for full political rights for women. At the same time, the surprise amendment was passed too late for women to run in elections next month. The soonest women will be able to run in any election is 2007.

Kuwait, at the same time, apparently trying to appease the conservative voting base included a requirement that "females abide by Islamic law." The implications of "females abide by Islamis law" is not immediately clear. Women in Kuwait view the clause as just might meaning separate polling places for men and women.

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