Saudi Arabian Women: King Abdullah Granted them Right to Vote and Join the Consultative Council

By on Sep 25, 2011 in International, Lifestyle, Middle East, Politics Comments

Saudi Arabian woman in Abha
Image Credit: en.wikipedia.org

King Abdullah granted women in Saudi Arabia the right to vote and to join the Shura, the Consultative Council in Saudi Arabia. They also have the right to run for municipal elections.  This was reported by local Saudi news and various international sites, September 24 & 25, 2011.

Reportedly, all women in Saudi Arabia have male guardians, who have rights and duties to them in most aspects of their lives. There is evident segregation of male from female in most public places, like restaurants, mosques, and other places deemed by the law of Islam.

Saudi women also cover their entire bodies with an ‘abha’ in observation of ‘’purdah,‘’ which separates women from unwed males, the public and society who are not blood relatives. It is also in Saudi Arabia only that women cannot drive.

Apparently, international organizations, especially in the Western world have believed this to be gender inequality which should be done away with. Some Saudi Arabian women, however, in 2010, as reported by New York Times, said:

“In Saudi culture, women have their integrity and a special life that is separate from men. As a Saudi woman, I demand to have a guardian. My work requires me to go to different regions of Saudi Arabia, and during my business trips I always bring my husband or my brother. They ask nothing in return—they only want to be with me.

The image in the West is that we are dominated by men, but they always forget the aspect of love. People who aren’t familiar with Shariah often have the wrong idea. If you want stability and safety in your life, if you want a husband who takes care of you, you won’t find it except in Islam.”

As perceived by several groups, the move of Saudi Arabia King Abdullah would increase the role of women in the political arena. Many believe though that women in Saudi Arabia do not need “women’s rights based on Western values and lifestyles.’



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