Women's Rights and the Meaning of Citizenship in Kuwait

by Mary Ann Tétreault | published February 10, 2005

Prosperous and possessed of a spirited parliament, Kuwait has prided itself on being a standard setter among the Arab monarchies on the Persian Gulf. With respect to women's rights, however, today Kuwait ranks just above Saudi Arabia. Kuwaiti women are allowed to drive and they occupy positions in public life ranging from secretary to second-level government ministers, but like their sisters in Saudi Arabia, they can neither vote nor run for political office.

Kuwait's Parliament Considers Women's Political Rights, Again

by Mary Ann Tétreault | published September 2, 2004

When Kuwait's parliament reconvenes in late October, it will be facing a full agenda. Member initiatives include an ambitious redistricting bill and threats to interpellate at least two cabinet ministers. The government's wish list is equally contentious; it includes a wide-ranging privatization program and a proposal to confer full political rights on Kuwaiti women. Despite promises of enfranchisement in return for their highly lauded performance resisting the Iraqi occupation of 1990-1991, Kuwaiti women are still denied the rights to vote and run for national office.

Letter from Kuwait

by Fred Halliday
published in MER215

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Advice and Dissent in Kuwait

by Mary Ann Tétreault
published in MER226

In sharp contrast to the diplomatic ineptitude that has characterized the Anglo-American march to war against Iraq, military preparations have been systematic, extensive and inexorable. As the military buildup has progressed through the autumn and winter of 2002 and into the succeeding spring, the feelings of Kuwaitis about what virtually all see as an inevitable war have become more and more -- ambivalent.

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Does a Vote Equal a Voice?

Women in Yemen

by Stacey Philbrick Yadav
published in MER252

In a second-floor classroom overlooking a flowering courtyard filled with groups of students sharing textbooks and snacks, a young Yemeni woman in her late teens says simply: “[No political party] cares about us, or about the country.” The “us” to whom she refers are the other young women in the room, a group participating in an innovative program at the Girls World Communication Center (GWCC), one of many civil society organizations in Yemen dedicated to improving opportunities for young women in the poorest country in the Arab world.

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A Tale of Two Kuwaits

by Kristen Smith Diwan
published in MER252

Elections in Kuwait are usually festive occasions, but in May 2009 Kuwaitis were frustrated. It was the third set of elections in three years, all coming after the emir dissolved the National Assembly because of confrontations between parliamentarians and the cabinet led by the ruling Sabah family. Kuwaitis across the spectrum of opinion are clearly fed up with years of political gridlock and the failure of government to clear the way for private-sector projects and to invest in the country’s badly worn infrastructure. The stagnation is particularly galling given the huge investments made in neighboring Gulf countries. There is a pervasive sense that Kuwait is in decline.

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