I’m so sorry I haven’t posted in so long, but now that I’ve settled into the new school year, I promise I’ll start posting again.
On September 25th, King Abdullah surprised his conservative nation by announcing bold reforms that will give women the right to vote, run for local office and serve on the Shura Council, the king’s advisory board. Although this sounds like a big improvement, it will only slightly improve the lives of women in a country that still forbids them to drive and to leave the house without covering their face. Abdullah said that in the 2015 muncipal election women will be able to run as candidates and vote. “It’s a mixed feeling. On one hand he opens the door for her and on the other hand she is still banned from driving,” said Mohammad Fahad Qahtani, a college professor and human rights advocate. “It doesn’t save her from horrible treatment by government agencies and the courts. It’s a symbolic gesture, but it is in no way enough to improve the lives of women.” But others are more optimistic, allowing women to vote is “hugely significant,” said Lubna Hussain, a Saudi writer. “The king is implementing the reform promises he made when he became leader. It shows he is not willing to pander to religious fundamentalists … who are quite weakened and don’t seem to have the voice they used to.”
Even though this is no way a groundbreaking reform, it will hopefully open the door for more reforms and improvements for the lives of women in Saudi Arabia. Yay for progress!
(Source: Los Angeles Times)