The role of women in politics in the Gulf is a much-debated and often little-understood subject in the West. In Gender and Politics in Kuwait, the author sheds new light on the struggle of Kuwaiti women for political participation, examining both the positions women hold in society and politics, and the discourses surrounding feminism and civil rights. He charts the history of women and their contribution to the Kuwaiti state, from independence and the writing of the constitution in the 1960s, through the Iraqi occupation in 1990, to the struggle for the right to vote and stand for election in the twenty-first century. In 2005, with the proportion of women in education and employment ever rising, women in Kuwait gained the right to vote and stand for election and in 2009 four female lawmakers were voted into parliament. This book explores how the struggle for women's rights has influenced both the discourses surrounding the concept of women's political participation in Islamic societies and wider ideas about democratization and modernization in the Middle East. Additionally, it examines how the issue of women's rights in Kuwait reflects wider trends in society, such as tensions between classes, divergences between Sunni and Shi'a and the struggle for power between liberal secularists and more traditional Islamists. Gender and Politics in Kuwait furthermore highlights the activities and efforts of social groups such as the Women's Cultural and Social Society (WCSS) and the Nadi Al-Fatat (Girl's Club), analysing the role of NGOs and civil society organisations in the everyday political and social lives of women in the Gulf. Drawing on the experiences of women in a range of roles in Kuwaiti society, including government, education, employment, civil society and the media, this is a comprehensive examination of gender politics and its impact in the Middle East.
Gender and Politics in Kuwait
Women and Political Participation in the Gulf