Posts Tagged ‘Kuwait’

When Iraq, under the orders of the late Saddam Hussein,  invaded and annexed Kuwait on August 2, 1990, the United States and allies were galvanized into action that was christened accrding to its two stages, Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Iraqi forces were expelled from Kuwait,  and its sovereignty was restored.

One of the reasons for the swift and strong action was that Kuwait is an ally in an important location in a critical region. Another reason Americans were especially supportive of the war was that video coming out of Kuwait showed us an unusually free and open Arab state where young people dressed as they pleased, many spoke English, and young women appeared to be uncommonly equal to young men in their ability to circulate, speak out, and obtain an education without being segregated by sex.

So in recognition of Kuwait’s forward secular vision and enlightened treatment of women, today we can celebrate yet a new breakthrough by Kuwait. Today, according to the BBC, the Kuwaiti constitutional court ruled that the women of Kuwait have a constitutional right to obtain a passport without the permission of their husbands. This is enormous, and Kuwait stands as a shining example of gender equity, not just for its Middle Eastern neighbors, but for many countries outside that region as well.

When I arrived in Haiti, a married woman could have neither a passport nor a bank account without her husband’s permission. I do not know whether that law has been changed. Spousal permission is still required in many countries for the ordinary business of life. This must change. (I can almost hear our Secretary of State saying those words.)

Here is an excerpt from the BBC article: Kuwaiti women win passport rights

Kuwaiti women will be able to obtain their own passport without the consent of their husbands, following a ruling by the country’s constitutional court.

The court, whose decisions are final, said the previous requirement was in violation of guarantees of freedom and gender equality in the constitution.

The decision came about when a woman complained her husband had prevented her from leaving the country.

The country’s first female MPs were elected in May 2009.

The article abolished by the court dated back to Kuwait’s 1962 passport law which required a husband’s signature on a woman’s passport application.

Aseel al-Awadhi, one of the new MPs, welcomed the passport law ruling as a “victory for constitutional principles that puts an end to this injustice against Kuwaiti women”.


So today the Homegirls applaud the Kuwaiti Constitutional Court,  and congratulate our Kuwaiti sisters AND our enlightened brothers over there for taking the right step for women, for human rights, and for further Kuwaiti participation in the global economy.

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