With Kuwaiti parliamentary elections looming and in the light of the prominent role played by women in the Gulf nation’s Majlis al-Umma, four former female MPs announced they would be running in the upcoming race, scheduled for February.
The four women are Maasouma al-Mubarak, Salwa Jassar, Aseel al-Awadi, and Roula Dashti.
Mubarak, a professor of political science at Kuwait University, was Kuwait’s planning minister in 2005, then health minister in 2007, and became first woman minister in a Kuwaiti government and won a seat in Majlis al-Umma in the 2009 elections.
Jassar, an associate professor at Kuwait University, is head of the Women Empowerment Center and board member of the Kuwaiti Transparency Association.
Awadi, a professor of political philosophy at Kuwait University, was the first to run in Kuwait’s parliamentary elections as part of a political party, the National Democratic Alliance.
Dashti, who obtained her Ph.D. in population economics from Johns Hopkins University, was the first woman to head the Kuwaiti Economic Association and is a member of the Supreme Planning Council and the Executive Council of Young Arab Leaders, Kuwait branch.
The victory of female MPs in the Kuwaiti parliament, which was met with enthusiasm on the part of Kuwaiti women, was not enough, said political activist Aisha al-Rashid.
“We were excited about the results, but now, after two years, I can say that the outcome was quite disappointing, and this will reflect on the women who want to run in the upcoming elections,” she told Al Arabiya.
Nabila al-Anjari, another female candidate, said it is unfair to compare the performance of women in the parliament to that of their male counterparts.
“Men have been in the parliament for the past 50 years, while women entered the parliament only two and a half years ago,” she told Al Arabiya.
The number of female candidates in the 2012 parliamentary elections is 24, out of a total of 344. The third constituency has nine female candidates, the highest, while the lowest is the fifth constituency, known for its tribal loyalties, in which only one woman is running.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)