Rola Dashti

Executive Secretary at United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia

Rola Dashti

Rola Dashti

Executive Secretary at United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia

Biography

American Islamic Congress.
Rola Dashti is a leading Kuwaiti economist and women’s rights activist who, on May 16th, 2009, was one of the first women ever elected to Kuwait’s parliament.

Having received a PhD in population economics from Johns Hopkins University, Rola went on to become the first female president of the Kuwait Economic Society. She has served as Manager of Economics at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research and been an economist for the Kuwait National Bank; she has also provided consultancy services to the World Bank. Currently, she is a member of the Executive Committee of Young Arab Leaders (Kuwait Chapter), and is the first woman ever elected as head of a professional association in Kuwait.

But although Rola was able to reach impressive heights in her career, the fact remained that at the beginning of 2005, women in Kuwait did not have the right to vote. In May of that year, Rola joined with other women’s rights activists to lobby for a revolutionary decree allowing Kuwaiti women the right to vote and run in parliamentary elections. The campaign not only succeeded in gaining women their political rights, it also prodded the Kuwaiti government to appoint its first female cabinet minister.

In 2006, it seemed only natural that Rola should run for parliament; in fact, she was the first woman to file her papers registering in the election. Along with 27 other women, she fought for a seat in Kuwait’s male-dominated parliament. The campaign was difficult; opponents criticized Rola as a foreign agent, due to her Lebanese accent and American support. They attacked her progressive campaign platform and refusal to adhere to conservative standards.

At the end of the campaign, Rola placed fifth in her district. While she missed out on a parliamentary seat by several thousand votes, her success lay in the influence she exerted over the political process, showing that women could and should play an active role in Kuwaiti politics.

Then in 2009, Rola ran again, and proved that not only could women play a role in Kuwaiti politics, they could be elected to parliament as well! She became one of four women elected to parliament – the first women ever to join the Kuwaiti parliament.

Rola’s continuous push for economic, political and social reform within Kuwait shows that one motivated and courageous individual can facilitate change, even in an environment that seems resistant to transformation.

Overview
RelSci Relationships

5

Birthday

1964

Age

57

Number of Awards

2

Relationships
RelSci Relationships are individuals Rola Dashti likely has professional access to. A relationship does not necessarily indicate a personal connection.

Former Executive Secretary at United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Former Under-Secretary General & Executive Secretary at United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia

Relationship likelihood: Average

Director, Corporate Services at European Defence Agency

Relationship likelihood: Average

Social Policy Officer at United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia

Relationship likelihood: Average

Consultant at Government of Saudi Arabia

Relationship likelihood: Weak

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Rola Dashti
Executive Secretary at United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
Career History
Awards & Honors
2011
Newsweek Magazine - 150 Women Who Shake the World
2009
Clinton Global Citizen Award
Other Affiliations
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