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Setbacks Don't Mean an End to Progress

Article by Charity Wallace July 26, 2012 //   2 minute read

“Half a democracy is not a democracy,” Kuwaiti pioneer Rola Dashti said to Mrs. Bush (and the world) in summing up why she was pressing for women’s suffrage in her country.  And in 2005, Kuwaiti women finally won the right to vote.

In 2007, Mrs. Bush met with Rola Dashti and other women who ran for office in the 2006 elections.  Although the women were disappointingly defeated in those elections, they were excited about attaining suffrage.  This was an optimistic sign of progress for the women of Kuwait.  But, the progress must be advanced for real change for women to occur in Kuwait and other countries in the region, and the women remained committed to their cause. 

Three years later the women saw four of their own – including Dr. Dashti – become the first women elected to the country’s parliament in 2009. After another disappointing election earlier this fall, resulting in no female representation in the government, I just received news that Rola Dashti was appointed Minister of Development and Planning and State Minister for Parliament Affairs.

For anyone who has met Rola, you quickly recognize that she is a force – and women should be glad that she is fighting for their rights.  The struggle for the advancement and inclusion of women continues in Kuwait, and although there may be a few setbacks along the way the good news is there are remarkable champions like Rola Dashti continuing to lead the way for change.

This post was written by Charity Wallace, Director of the Women’s Initiative  at the George W. Bush Institute.