Date of Award

2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Department

Urban Studies

First Advisor

Stivers, Camilla

Subject Headings

Women -- Political activity -- Kuwait, Women in public life -- Kuwait, Women's rights -- Kuwait, Public administration, Public policy, Women (Political rights), Enfranchisement, Implementation, Public sector, High positions in government, Work experiences, Interpretive theory, Phenomenology

Abstract

Women in Kuwait were traditionally excluded from the formulation of public policy because they lacked political rights. In mid 2005, women received the right to vote and to run for office. There is little known today about the influence of these political rights on women who work with the implementation of public policies in the higher administrative levels of government. Little is known specifically about the influence of the franchise on promotion of women to high administrative posts. The purpose of this study is to lay a foundation for research on the factors that encourage women's access to high positions in government by exploring the experience of high-level women both before and after enfranchisement. The experiences of leading women who work for the public sector are critical to understanding any relationship between women's political rights and their access to high positions. The interpretation of female work experiences provides suggestions to help expand and enhance women's access to high positions in public administration. This study employs the phenomenological method for data collection and interpretation. The findings of this study support the argument that political participation exerts a positive influence on high-level women in government. This study shows that Kuwaiti high-level women agree that they have started to experience a positive influence in their work since the franchise due to the new political power that they have gained. I argue that whether or not high-level women have personally experienced any positive change in their work due to gaining their political rights, they still affirm the occurrence of this positive change. This study finds that this positive influence is reflected in better representation in official meetings, more interactions with state leaders, an increasing ability to express concerns to top levels, and enhancing their self-confidence to lead. This study notes other significant factors that should be considered by women in order to enhance their numbers in lead

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