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IPU Chief calls for public awareness about need to elect women to Kuwaiti Parliament
March 12, 2014, 9:26 am

Anders B. Johnsson, Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), on Tuesday said growing public awareness of the need to elect women Parliamentarians in Kuwait is very important for the country's welfare.

Johnsson told KUNA in the margins of the launch by IPU and UN Women of the "Global Map of Women in Politics" that public awareness should build up in Kuwait before Parliamentary elections. What is at stake here is the welfare of Kuwait." He said experience has amply proven that "if you have much larger women in Parliament, you get better decisions. That includes an understanding and experience which are not the same as that of men. We would be foolish not to take that into account, that's why we need them (women Parliamentarians), besides the fact that it is also their right."

He said "Kuwait has struggled with this issue over many years. It had progresses and had setbacks. It is at very, very low rate (number of women Parliamentarians.) It needs to do a lot better," adding that Kuwait has "very committed women." Kuwait is rated 135 out 149 countries listed on the map. Rwanda is listed number one, with 63.8 percent women Parliamentarians. Lebanon is rated 139, Oman 143 and Qatar 147.

"We need support from top, but we also support from the bottom," he stressed, adding "we need much diligence, many public discussions around this, explaining to people why they need to support women to do this job." On women Parliamentarians in the Middle East, Johnsson said there is a "growing awareness that we need more women in public and political decision making. We see this not only in North African states, but also in Gulf States." He noted that the Middle East is the region that has progressed the fastest, because of the political will and political push from the people in those countries.

"Saudi Arabia went from not having a single woman member in Parliament to 20 percent women appointed by the King. Jordan introduced quota by which women did better than hoped for.

Tunisia has now enshrined in its constitution that all decision making representative bodies will be represented equally by men and women," he said.
The message is "very clear. We need them (women Parliamentarians) because we need their contribution. They have something to bring to the public decision-making. It would be foolish to ignore this. If that is true for Saudi Arabia, I think it is true for all other countries as well," he said.

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