But in spite of the law’s shortcomings, the decision goes a long way toward solidifying the gains that Kuwaiti women have already made. The law essentially enshrines in the Constitution what is already a de facto characteristic of Kuwaiti society: Despite having been denied the right to vote, Kuwaiti women have led their female counterparts in other countries in the Gulf in terms of gender equality. Unlike other women in the region, Kuwaiti women are free to drive, dress as they choose and travel without any restrictions. Women outnumber men in universities and they compose a third of the emirate’s workforce. They also play an active role in the political arena through local and international rights groups and civil society organizations – groups that have played a key role in demanding that the state extend women their rights. The female force can be felt in every sector, from banking to medicine to art and the oil industry. The new law only confirms what was already known: Kuwaiti women are an important part of the fabric of their society.[Empowered women will drive Kuwait into the 21st century]
NPR has an interview with one of the activists.