Aseel al-Awadhi

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Aseel al-Awadhi

Aseel al-Awadhi (born 1969) is a former member of the National Assembly of Kuwait. She was a professor of philosophy at Kuwait University before moving into politics. Al-Awadhi first stood for a seat on the National Assembly in 2008, losing the election but gaining the highest number of votes for a female candidate since women were allowed to stand. She was elected representative of Kuwait's Third District in 2009; a post that she held until 2012.


After studying philosophy at Kuwait University, al-Awadhi earned her PhD in philosophy at the University of Texas. Upon returning to Kuwait she became a professor of philosophy at Kuwait University.[1]

Political career[edit]

Al-Awadhi first stood in the 2008 general election as part of the National Democratic Alliance. She gained the highest number of votes received by a Kuwaiti woman since women were allowed to stand for the National Assembly in 2005, although she did not gain enough votes to win a seat.[2] In the 2009 election she was elected as a representative for the Third District, while simultaneously becoming one of the first women to be elected to the National Assembly.[3]

Along with fellow MP (member of parliament) Rola Dashti, Al-Awadhi chose not to wear a hijab when she took her seat in the National Assembly. This decision was criticized by Islamist MPs, including prominent Islamic Salafi Alliance member Ali al-Omair. The Constitutional Court rejected a case which claimed that refusal to wear a hijab was a violation of Kuwaiti law.[4]

Al-Awadhi lost her seat in the February 2012, but was briefly returned to parliament after the previous parliament was dissolved by the Emir in June 2012.[5] She chose to boycott the December 2012 election in protest of the decision to reduce the number of votes per person from four to one.[6] She chose not to stand in the 2013 election.[7]


  1. ^ "Distinguished Lecture Series hosts Kuwaiti Parliamentarian Aseel Al-Awadi, Ph.D." Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. 25 January 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  2. ^ U.S. PROGRAMS PROPEL KUWAITI WOMEN TO GREEN CHAIRS OF PARLIAMENT, Wikileaks, 21 May 2009, retrieved 26 January 2014
  3. ^ Mark Tran (17 May 2009), First women elected to Kuwait parliament, The Guardian, retrieved 26 January 2014
  4. ^ James Calderwood (29 October 2009), Court rules hijab optional for MPs, The National, retrieved 26 January 2014
  5. ^ Grace Perriman (27 November 2012), Kuwait’s Tenacious Suffragettes, retrieved 26 January 2014
  6. ^ "38 register for poll on day five". Arab Times. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  7. ^ Interior Ministry's officials urged to redouble efforts ahead of elections, Kuwait Times, 23 June 2013, retrieved 26 January 2014