OpinionOthers

One step closer to Kuwait women empowerment

In June, we celebrated women’s empowerment by having four female members appointed to the Municipal Council, which revealed two essential aspects that govern empowering women in Kuwait. The first is the fact that the four female members were appointed and not voted to the Municipal Council, which means we the public still lack awareness and sufficient knowledge of the importance of supporting women in reaching such positions. Gender equality means providing equal opportunities for women to hold decision-making positions in the country, considering the fact that the election winners were all men who succeeded and won in a population known for having a majority of women! Raising public awareness regarding women’s political empowerment is an important role that the civil society and official authorities should collaborate to achieve. On the other hand, the quota system as a legal structure and one of the mechanisms that could ensure women’s presence in political positions. The concept of the quota system operates by reserving certain seats for a specific segment of individuals, depending on each country’s domestic matters. In some countries, the quota seats are always reserved for marginalized communities, while in other countries the quota system reserves seats for women. Coming to the current situation of women’s rights in Kuwait, it is clear that there is an actual need for a national mechanism that could empower women and assist in ensuring their presence. But the fact is that the quota system itself suffers from certain legal gaps and shortfalls, making it to fail to meet the required goals and expectations, while reserving certain seats does not necessarily include regulating the professional qualifications, credentials and expertise of the individual for whom the seat is reserved for. Looking back to the basic law that governs citizens’ right to run in elections, we find crucial gaps related to acquiring a high professional degree or experience that determine the knowledge and the mindset of such a person, leading all these legal structures to seriously fail. It is needed at the moment to adopt the following legal recommendations: (1) To amend national laws regulating running in elections for certain positions by adding chapters that obligates any citizen who wishes to run to obtain certain academic qualifications and/or sufficient experience for the potential post. (2) To initiate national procedures that empower women in politics and assist women to reach decision making positions, ensuring that such procedures cover the needed requirements from the legal, technical and professional aspects.

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