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Women in Kuwait

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Women in Kuwait

Women in Kuwait are considered to be among the most emancipated women in the Middle East region.[1] In 2011, Kuwait was ranked highest of all Middle East countries in gender equality in the Human Development Report's Gender Inequality Index.[1] In 2012, nearly 50% of Kuwaiti women participated in the labor force.[2] The participation of Kuwaiti women in the labor force is much higher than the regional average.[3] Kuwait was ranked the second highest Middle East country in gender equality in the 2012 Global Gender Gap Report.[4] Women in Kuwait are able to work freely and achieve positions of power and influence.[5]

When voting was first introduced in Kuwait in 1985, Kuwaiti women had the right to vote.[6] This right was later removed. Women in Kuwait were re-granted the right to vote and stand in parliamentary and local elections in May 2005.[7][8] In 2005, the government appointed the first Kuwaiti women to be the Minister of Planning and the Minister of State for Administrative Development. In efforts to take the Kuwaiti woman's political role to a higher step, in the next government reshuffle the Emir approved three women to become ministers. Furthermore, in the 2009 parliament elections, four women were elected as members of parliament.[9]

Kuwaiti women are also judges, police officers, royal guards, special forces officers, and immigration officers. Kuwaiti women are one of the first Middle Eastern women to work as judges. Women in Kuwait are equal to men by law and are entitled to a job, from the Kuwaiti government's office of Service Bureau of employment.

Despite this, women in Kuwait may experience some legal discrimination because the family courts for Muslim citizens are governed by Islamic law. Non-Muslims have separate secular family courts. Kuwaiti women are not permitted to transmit their citizenship their descendants unless the father is also a Kuwaiti citizen. However, women can 'sponsor' their male spouses and children.[10]

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