FIRST Kuwaiti Woman Candidate Breaks Taboo

by Reema on March 23, 2006

in Kuwait Affairs

Kuwait City, 23 March (AKI) – The first woman ever to stand in elections in Kuwait has started her campaign by bringing male and female voters together for the first time in more than four decades. Hundreds of men and women attended the landmark event in a huge tent where they listened to Jenan Bushehri who is vying to win a seat on the Kuwait City municipal council. It was the first time women have attended an election gathering in Kuwait since polls were held in 1962, and the first campaign event ever to be addressed by a woman. Men and women were however made to sit slightly apart from each other.

“I promise I will not disappoint you if you elect me,” said Bushehri, who is contesting the April 4 by-election for a council seat in the district of Salmiya, some 15 kilometres southeast of Kuwait City. The seat fell vacant after the council chairman was appointed minister in the new Kuwaiti cabinet in February.

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Wearing the traditional Muslim headscarf, Bushehri, 33, called on the audience to fight sectarianism and tribalism and pledged to combat red tape and corruption, allegedly rampant in the civic body.

Bushehri, who is married with two daughters, holds a masters in chemical engineering and is working on her doctorate. She heads the food examination department at the municipality.

Women in Kuwait have long held senior positions in the oil and education sectors, as well as in the diplomatic corps, but were only granted full political rights in a historic vote in parliament in May 2005. The government subsequently appointed two women members in the municipal council and named the first woman minister.

The first national elections in which female Kuwaitis will be voting and running for office will be in 2007.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

PALFORCE April 1, 2006 at 1:52 pm

Mashallah !
I’m speechless.
I remember in the 4th grade they wanted to try a new thing ( allowing female teachers to teach first 4th grade) and at that time I was in 4th grade. I remember Ablah Khadeejah and I still remember her vividly, mashalah 3aleeha she was with hijab and teaching us young boys who never interacted with females before other than family members, it was such an experience, I think I had extremely high grades that year. This lady reminds me of her.

All my respect and appreciation to Kuwaiti women who are leaders.



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