Kuwait: Extending the Right to Vote to Women


Women elected in Kuwait University professor Acil al-Awadi (C), was one of four women to win seats in Kuwait's parliamentary elections.
(Photo: Yasser Al-Zayyat/AFP/Getty Images)

Kuwait ratified CEDAW in 1994, but its failure to extend to women the right to vote drew the attention of the CEDAW Committee. In 2004, the CEDAW Committee addressed the conditions in Kuwait stating, "The Committee calls upon the State party to take all necessary steps, as a matter of the utmost urgency, to introduce and actively support the adoption of legislation to amend the discriminatory provisions of the Electoral Law in line with the constitutional guarantee of equality and in order to ensure compliance with the Convention." In light of mounting international pressure, the Kuwaiti Parliament in 2005 voted to extend to women the right to vote - a long overdue and major victory for the women of Kuwait and for women's rights advocates around the world.

In 2009, four women where elected to the Kuwaiti parliament just four years after women were extended voting rights. They are the first women elected to the 50-seat parliament since 1962.