Kuwait Conference Highlights Importance of Integrating Women into the Judiciary

June 2010

In recent years, women have realized important achievements in Kuwait, including gaining the rights to vote and run for public office. Building upon that progress, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and the Kuwait BarAssociation (KBA) held a May conference in Kuwait City to examine the role ofwomen as judges and to promote the integration of women into the Kuwaiti judiciary. The event was funded by the Embassy of the Netherlands.

The conference coincided with the one-year anniversary of the election of four Kuwaiti women to parliament, and was intended to raise awareness of theimportance and social benefits of greater female participation in the judiciary. Participants included women judges from Bahrain, Morocco, the Netherlands, France and the United States. The presenters examined strategies for incorporating women into the judiciary and shared their experiences as female judges.

In addition to presenting at the conference, the delegation of judges met with the Kuwaiti prime minister, the minister of justice, and two femalemembers of parliament, each of whom expressed support for allowing women to become judges.

After the event, the KBA issued a statement calling on the Kuwaiti Ministry of Justice to support the appointment of women to the judiciary. The statement also recommended the inclusion of scholars and civil society in future discussions on the issue, and encouraged public awareness outreach activities.The KBA emphasized the importance of international collaboration, calling formore interaction with international judiciaries and additional conferences for women judges.

The conference was the latest of ABA ROLI’s initiatives to enhance the status of women in the legal communities of the Middle East and North Africa.

To learn more about our work in the Middle East and North Africa, contact rol@staff.abanet.org.

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