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We would like to congratulate Vital Voices Global Advisory Council member and Global Leadership Award recipient Rola Dashti, Massouma al-Mubarak, Aseel al-Awadhi and Salwa al-Jassar for making history in Kuwait’s elections as the country’s first women members of parliament!

Four years after Kuwaiti women were granted the right to stand for public office and vote in Parliamentary elections, four women were elected to the 50-seat National Assembly on May 16, 2009.  In a historic moment for Kuwait, which has witnessed 3 elections in the past three years, Dr. Rola Dashti, Vital Voices Global Advisory Council Member, along with Dr. Massouma Al-Mubarak, Dr. Aseel Al-Awadhi, and Dr. Salwa Al-Jasser were elected to the National Assembly.

Elections were called after the Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, dissolved parliament in March following disputes between the parliament and the cabinet.  With a population of approximately 2.6 million people, 384,790 were registered to vote in the May 16, 2009 elections, more than half of whom are women.  And of the 210 registered candidates, 16 were women.

Vital Voices has been supporting the women of Kuwait since 2003, when they conducted an intensive two week training program in Washington, DC and New York City that focused on leadership, communication and lobbying.  In May 2006, Vital Voices took part in a follow-up conference that examined ways to increase women’s political participation.  That same year, Vital Voices honored the women of Kuwait, including Rola Dashti, at its annual Global Leadership Awards event.  Vital Voices will continue to stand by the women of Kuwait as they continue advancing women’s roles in public office and society.

News Coverage

First Women Win Seats in Kuwait Parliament – NY Times

Women win parliamentary seats for first time in Kuwait – CNN

Kuwait votes for first female MPs – BBC

Kuwaiti women win first parliamentary seats – AP

KUWAIT: In a first, four women elected to parliament – LA Times

FOCUS: Kuwaitis Elect First Women Lawmakers,Seek Econ Reform – Wall Street Journal