Saudi king puts women on advisory council

2013-01-11 22:27

Riyadh - Saudi King Abdullah appointed 30 women to the previously all-male consultative Shura Council in decrees published on Friday, marking a historic first as he pushes reforms in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

The decrees, published by the official SPA news agency, give women a 20% quota in the Shura Council, a body appointed by the king to advise him on policy and legislation.

One decree amended an article in the council's statute to give women representation on the body while the other named the 150 members, among them 30 women.

King Abdullah took the decisions following consultations with religious leaders in the kingdom, where women are subjected to many restrictions and are not allowed to mix with men, according to the decrees published by the SPA.

They stipulate that men and women will be segregated inside the council, with a special area designated for females who will enter through a separate door so as not to mix with their male colleagues.

Right to vote

King Abdullah had been carefully treading towards change, introducing municipal elections for the first time in Saudi Arabia in 2005.

In September 2011 he granted women the right to cast ballots and run as candidates in the next local vote, set for 2015.

In announcing those changes, he also said he was planning to name women to the Shura Council.

Women's rights activists have long fought for the right to vote in the oil-rich Gulf kingdom, which applies a strict version of Sunni Islam and bans females from driving or travelling without the consent of a male guardian.

  • Iqhawe_eliqotho - 2013-01-12 19:07


  • raymond.mcnelly - 2013-01-12 19:52

    Well done. A step in the right direction!

  • Ebraheem86 - 2013-01-12 21:44

    Why is it always that 'these mainstream media' portrays Islam, Saudi as they pin women down or we don't acknowledge them?!!! Its been misunderstood, they cannot travel without a 'Magraam' male guardian. A man who protects her. Clearly as to why theres hardly or never rap cases, kidnapping etc. Please report when you'll have all the facts. Not what you choose. Stop sensationalising to sell your crappy stories. Making Islam seem as if its all male dominant.

      avremel.niselow - 2013-01-12 22:23

      No dude that's called slavery. Stop blaming women for rape and start blaming chauvinists like yourself. Ps Saudis also allow adult men to marry minors, that is rape especially when they are sold by their parents!

      fidel.uncensored - 2013-01-13 11:38

      Well said Fire!

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