Former member of parliament Rola Dashti was appointed state minister for planning and development and state minister for National Assembly affairs in Kuwait. She is the only woman in the newly formed Kuwaiti Cabinet.
Dashti is a former Kuwaiti parliamentarian and a leading Kuwaiti economist and women’s rights activist. Prior to becoming minister, she was the Chairman of the Kuwait Economic Society. On May 16th, 2009, she became one of the first women ever elected to Kuwait’s parliament. She has served as Manager of Economics at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research and has been an economist for the Kuwait National Bank; she has also provided consultancy services to the World Bank. 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. Dashti lobbied 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. Dashti received a Ph.D. in population economics from Johns Hopkins University.
Over the years, Rola Dashti has taken part in a number of meetings organized by the Wilson Center's Middle East Program discussing women's rights in the MENA region. She participated in the meeting on "Is the Arab Awakening Marginalizing Women" on May 14, 2012 at the Wilson Center.