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Feminist News


June-26-00

Lawsuit Challenges Kuwait Denial of Women's Suffrage

Women's rights advocates in Kuwait may potentially experience a historic advancement in gender equality. Objecting to the government's 1962 election law that forbids women's right to vote, Mr. Adnan Al-Isa, filed a lawsuit against his local polling office for its refusal to allow five women to vote. For the second time in history, such a lawsuit has been sent to the Constitutional Court. According to Deutsche Presse-Agenturs, Al-Isa remarked, "It's a victory for women and an indication we are on the right track." A similar lawsuit was also sent to the high court in May, when female activist Rola Dashti launched an unprecedented legal attack on Article I of the election law. Last year, Kuwait's emir, Sheik Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah, issued a decree urging the Parliament to grant women the right to vote and hold office by the year 2003. But in November's bitter political debate, the measure lost by two votes, 32 to 30. Following these disappointing political defeats, women's rights activists have focused their attention on Kuwait's judicial branch, hoping that the courts will legitimize their cause by declaring Article I of the election law unconstitutional.

Media Resources: 20 June Deutsche Presse-Agenturs, The New York Tim