DEMOCRACY WATCH: Kuwait appoints first woman minister
Karin Palmquist

On June 12, the Kuwaiti government named liberal academic Maasuma Al Mubarak the country`s first woman minister. The appointment came one month after Kuwaiti women were granted full political rights.

Ms. Mubarak is a leading women`s rights activist and a professor of international relations at Kuwait University. She will hold the ministerial portfolio of planning and administrative development.

The appointment of Ms. Mubarak came one week after the Kuwaiti government appointed two women members of the Municipal Council -- the first women in the country’s history to be appointed to public office. The Municipal Council is responsible for city planning, public health and property issues, and monitors restaurants and construction.

Kuwait’s women were granted suffrage on May 16. The parliamentary elections in 2007 will be the first time Kuwaiti women can exercise their right to vote.