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Kuwait court opens up judicial jobs to women
April 29, 2014, 2:18 pm
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A Court of First Instance in Kuwait has annulled a decision by the Ministry of Justice barring women from applying for the position of legal researcher, a stepping stone to the post of prosecutor.

The verdict is seen as a new victory for women in the country in the fight for more rights.

Last month, the justice ministry published a job advertisement in local media for the position of legal researcher at the ministry. However, it specified that only men could submit their applications.

Noor Faleh Muhawesh, a Kuwaiti woman who wanted the position, challenged the ministry’s decision, saying that it violated the text and spirit of the constitution that stipulates equality among Kuwaiti citizens regardless of gender.

“The court verdict that annulled the ministry’s decision is a great triumph for equality among citizens,” she said, quoted by Al Rai daily on Tuesday. “Now, women have equal chances too as they present their applications for the position. The justice ministry is now obliged to accept their applications,” she said.

The recruitment advertisement in March sparked furore across the country and MP Safa Al Hashem warned that she would grill Nayef Al Ajami, the Minister of Justice, for failing to comply with a strict government ban on discrimination on the basis of gender in recruitment processes.

“The minister has obviously disregarded the no-discrimination decision of the Civil Service endorsed by the government in 2005 when he approved the advertisement,” the lawmaker said. “It is an absolute violation of the Kuwaiti constitution and of the rights of Kuwaiti citizens,” she added.

MP Abdul Kareem Al Kindari said that he was shocked by the advertisement.

“Does this mean that the ministry will publish, if need be, a separate advertisement for female applicants?” he asked. “Was there a decision by the justice ministry not to accept women to the position of legal researcher and subsequently public prosecutor?”

Kuwaiti women have been pushing for more representation in the justice ministry and for the possibility to hold positions that were previously only open to men. However, conservative views have been resisting such attempts.

 

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