Friday, June 30, 2006

Kuwait: (Some) Women Get the Vote

It was a big day for Kuwaiti women yesterday. For the first time ever, women in Kuwait were allowed to exercise the duty American women take for granted. American women shouldn't though because we've only had the vote for 86 years. That's right, less than 100 years.

Kuwaiti women voted yesterday. Didn't hear about it? Didn't seem to make a big splash in the US and what few stories that were released about it didn't emphasize the fact that only women who follow Islamic law were allowed to vote. Not even NPR used that fact in their story.

In the first 10 results in a Google News search, only 1 US news source is listed. Why? According to Adam Hanft at Huffington Post, it's all about Iraq.
It's hard to explain away the fact that it took 15 years after we went to war to liberate Kuwait, to finally give women the opportunity to vote. And not all women, mind you, only women who follow Islamic law. If it's taken this long to change a tiny slice of the culture in Kuwait, what message does that send about the timeframe in Iraq?
What indeed?

This only illustrates how woeful women's rights are around the world and how American politicians just don't care ... or get it ... or something. This is why it's so important for us to keep speaking up, keep going to the polls, letting those in power know that we are fed up and it's a time for change.


Blogger Karen M said...


I had read about this story, also not in the mainstream press, and still didn't know about the requirement to observe Islamic law in order to vote. How self-serving for those who want to control the government.

Religious tests for voting are definitely a PR no-no in the U.S.

7:01 AM  
Anonymous Mcarabian said...

I'm not sure where Mr. Hanft got his source from, but I know for a fact that there were non-Muslim Kuwaiti women voting at the polls that day. I was with them. The requirements the authorities ask for at the polls are an ID card and proof of citizenship - neither form of identification shows religious affliation. Keep in mind that Kuwait is an Islamic country, and most Kuwaiti citizens are Muslim. I can see how it can be misconstrued, and I'm not sure what the requirements are to gain a Kuwaiti citizenship, but I do know that religion is not a basis of whether a Kuwaiti citizen gets to vote or not.

3:05 PM  
Blogger Thursday Next said...

That is so good to know. I thought it was kind of strange because I wondered how they would check for that.

One of Hanft's sources was this from the Kuwait Information Office USA. (Quoted and linked to in my original post.)

Did someone's wires get crossed?

1:14 AM  

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