Women return to Kuwait’s parliament for the first time since 2020
Dr. Jenan Bushehri and Alia Al Khaled have been elected to Kuwait’s parliament, becoming the first women MPs in two years. Of the 305 candidates to compete for the 50-seat body, only twenty-two were women.
The Parliament has been all-male since Safa Al Hashem, the only woman MP, lost her seat in December 2020, and none of the other 29 women candidates managed to win their races. Although Kuwaiti women earned the right to vote in 2005 and have been active both in Cabinet and parliament, there has never been more than four women MPs in office at the same time.
Bushehri and Al Khaled, who are part of the opposition who won a majority of seats, will now sit on the National Assembly for four years.
Bushehri has previously held various positions in Kuwait’s Cabinet. In 2017, she became Minister for Service Affairs and Minister for Housing, and was made Minister for Housing and Minister for Public Works a year later after a Cabinet reshuffle. She oversaw various infrastructure developments, such as a $356 million road project connecting several high-density residential areas. She resigned in 2019, after ten MPs signed a motion of no-confidence in her.
Al Khaled is a writer and member of the Kuwaiti Journalists’ Association since 2013, as well as a political activist. She focuses on empowering young people and education.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index 2021, Kuwait is ranked among the last 4 out of 155 countries for political empowerment.