Kuwait has allowed women in Army combat roles. However, they will need permission from a male guardian. Women are also banned from carrying weapons which sparked controversy among Kuwaiti women.

Activists have dubbed its policy as “one step forward, two steps back” after Defence Ministry announced women have to wear headscarves in the armed forces.


Ghadeer al-Khashti, a sports teacher and member of Kuwait Football Association’s women committee, “I don’t know why there are these restrictions to join the army. We have all kinds of women working in all fields, including the police force.”

She also revealed that her mother also took part in the resistance force when the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990.

She further added, “My mum during the Iraqi invasion used to hide weapons under her abaya and transport them to members of Kuwait’s resistance, and my father encouraged it. I don’t understand on what basis they see women as weak.”

In October 2021, Kuwait Defence Ministry decided to allow women in combat roles. However, it was questioned by orthodox lawmaker Hamdan al-Azmi. Later, the ministry imposed some restrictions.

The lawmaker had criticised women’s roles in combat by saying, “does not fit with a woman’s nature.”

Head of the Kuwaiti Women’s Cultural and Social Society, Lulwa Saleh al-Mulla also condemned the discriminatory law.

She said, “We are a Muslim country, that is true, but we demand the laws not be subject to fatwas. Personal freedom is guaranteed in the constitution, on which the country’s laws are based.”

Women were given the right to vote in 2005 in Kuwait.