Kuwaiti women make their presence felt in politics

Election or selection of MPs plays major role: Dr Al-Azmi

This news has been read 1217 times!

KUWAIT CITY, April 1, (KUNA): Kuwaiti women have proven their presence on the political scene since they were granted their political rights on May 16, 2005 to run for election and to vote and that will remain a historic day in their lives of Kuwaiti women in particular and the Kuwaiti people in general. Women’s political rights opened the door for them to participate for the first time in decision-making and contribute to deepening the democratic process in the country. After the National Assembly unanimously voted to grant Kuwaiti women their full political rights, Kuwaiti women have proven their responsibility and capability in the political field. In interviews with KUNA with several Kuwait female academics and those interested in political and women’s affairs, they stressed that Kuwaiti women have political awareness and their participation in the parliamentary elections made a clear difference in delivering their issues and demands.

(from left) Dr Khadeeja Al-Mahmeed, Lulwa Al-Mullah and Dr Maryam Al-Azmi

Acting Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs Dr. Maryam Al-Azmi said that the participation of Kuwaiti women in the elections has many positives, including activating citizenship rights on an equal basis with men to build a just, free, and equal society according to Articles seven and eight of the Kuwait Constitution, and to facilitate and approve the right to participate in the political decision-making.

She emphasized that women can make their voices heard under the dome of Abdullah Al-Salem Hall, either through their candidacy and the chance to win a seat in the National Assembly or through the election of members of parliament who adopt their issues and demands in their electoral program. She continued that although four women won parliamentary seats in 2009 and major efforts by women to win political rights that lasted 20 years, women may face some challenges that hinder expanding the scope of their participation. She added that the challenges may be due to the cultural system that does not motivate women to participate politically and assume leadership roles and decision-making positions, or the challenge may be the women themselves as there are some groups not convinced in activating women’s political participation and voting for them. She pointed out to the inability of some media outlets to play a developmental or changeable role regarding the values that affect the participation of women and highlighting their successes.

Awareness
Dr. Al-Azmi said that awareness among citizens should increase on women’s political rights and citizenship rights through implementing political empowerment programs aiming at building women’s political capabilities and enhancing the culture of women’s political participation to advance their vital role, and activate their contributions to building and developing society. She stressed the need to enhance women’s participation in decision-making and support female candidates in launching a media campaign to shed light on the experiences of the former women parliamentarians and discuss the challenges they faced.

For her part, the Chairperson of Association for Family Security (Rawasi) and political and social activist in women and family rights, Dr. Khadeeja Al-Mahmeed told KUNA that the ratio of Kuwaiti female citizens who have the right to vote is greater than the male citizens, as the number of female voters exceeds by 50 percent, stressing the need for Kuwaiti women to vote based on issues at stake and the credibility of former and new candidates to address the concerns of the citizens. As for the necessity of the presence of female candidates in the National Assembly, she said the State should adopt the “quota” system, noting that there are several Kuwaiti female citizens qualified for parliamentary representation. She continued that the political process does not only depend on election and nomination to the National Assembly but also on developing political awareness and sincere and continuous field activity in serving the nation through words and action. Furthermore, Chairperson of Women Cultural and Social Society Lulwa Al-Mulla told KUNA that even before women gained their political rights, they were an essential factor in the political and electoral process. She stressed that the implementation of Article 29 of the Kuwait Constitution has enabled women to practice politics in voting and running for elections, which has had a significant and positive impact on political life, expressing hope that women will have a greater share in political success.

She added that the participation of women is as important as men in the electoral process and what is required choosing the right national candidate whose priority is the interest of the country, noting the importance of abiding by the articles of the Kuwait Constitution and preserving it. Kuwait is keen to develop and empower women’s capabilities, taking promising steps so that they have a positive and important role in all domains and be an effective factor socially, economically and politically, and contribute to boosting growth in all domains. The empowerment of women is considered a major pillar of (Kuwait Vision 2035) and the development plan for their involvement in the labor market would achieve the fifth goal of the sustainable development goals.

This news has been read 1217 times!

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