Last week, Saudi King Abdullah acknowledged the importance of women’s participation in the country, announcing their right to greater political participation for them in the future. This new announcement marks a huge stepping stone historically for Saudi Arabia women. The king also said women will be allowed to run as candidates and nominate candidates in the next set of municipal elections
Many women’s rights activists, especially one’s that focus on the rights of women in Saudi Arabia have argued that just as easily that this has been granted to women, it can be taken away. Since women will not be participating in the voting process that occurred this past Thursday, the next municipal election could be in another four years, and the Shura Council in a year and a half. This allows many extremists the time to reverse the decision created by King Abdullah.
Regardless of what the outcome is, this is a true testament to the long turmoil of what women have gone through in Saudi Arabia. However, one thing is uncertain, why has this come out of nowhere? Why are women now recognized as being equally able to participate in politics than before? What does this mean for the future of women in other countries that have yet to grant women the right to vote? Commentators of Abdullah’s announcement have questioned how far this right for women will go, and what the real motivations are behind this reformation.
Some useful articles about the current events for women in Saudi Arabia:
Saudi women’s vote: Does it go far enough?
Questions follow Saudi king’s promise on women’s rights