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Women’s electoral participation in Kuwait

Kaya, Zeynep (2021) Women’s electoral participation in Kuwait. LSE Middle East Centre Kuwait Programme Paper Series, 11. LSE Middle East Centre, London, UK.

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Since the introduction of women’s suffrage in 2005, the number of women elected to parliament in Kuwait has been very small. Only ten women have served as members of parliament and no women were elected in the 2020 election leading to an all-male parliament in Kuwait today. It is important to understand the reasons why it has been difficult for women to get elected in Kuwait in greater numbers. This paper argues that deeply gendered structural inequalities and sexism play a significant role in preventing women’s election to parliament. They create impediments to women carrying out election campaigns, including inhibiting securing funding and building networks. Women running for office are also exposed to sexist prejudices, criticism and public defamation. The paper also draws attention to some of the features of women’s political participation in Kuwait. First, women’s political participation is understood in broader terms by women’s rights activists, going beyond electoral participation to include informal political participation such as activism for women’s legal, political and socio-economic rights and membership of unions and associations. Second, the hierarchies and privileges that derive from citizenship status, and the socio-economic structures built around it, shape women’s experience of participation in elections. As a result, only women from a particular socio-economic background run in elections and enter parliament.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author
Divisions: Middle East Centre
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2021 10:42
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 12:22

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