Litigating Women’s Rights in Gulf Monarchial Systems: The Kuwait and Bahrain Constitutional Courts as Case Studies

In: Arab Law Quarterly
Author: Salma Waheedi1
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  • 1 Harvard Law School, 1563 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
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This article is an inquiry into the ability of the constitutional judiciary in Arab Gulf monarchial systems to act to protect women’s rights and the conditions that enable such autonomous exercise of judicial powers. Looking specifically at Kuwait and Bahrain, the empirical findings of this article demonstrate that one must look beyond constitutional or legal text in conducting this analysis. In these largely comparable political systems with very similar constitutions, subtle contextual political differences can lead to divergent outcomes when it comes to the practical exercise of constitutional judicial power. The experiences of Kuwait and Bahrain are insightful as they shed light on the different dynamics that may exist in similar monarchial systems and how even a limited divestment of political power, as in the case of Kuwait, can enable judicial institutions to carve a role for themselves in protecting citizens’ rights.

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