Neil MacFarquhar from the New York Times reported this morning that women in Saudi Arabia will have the right to run and vote in municiapl elections starting in 2015. While this is an extremely exciting development for women in that nation, many feel that it isn’t enough.
Yes, women have the right to vote and run in local election. However, they don’t have the right to drive or leave the house without a male chaperone (in most cases.) I feel that it will be interesting to see what happens when a woman does win a local position, specifically because society is strictly segregated by gender.
Sabria Jawhar of the Huffinton Post says, “It’s a proud moment for Saudi women to win this victory. However, this isn’t the end. We must have municipal councils that are open to the public, encourage citizen participation, and be responsive to the public’s wants and needs. We are not anywhere near that since we have little transparency in local government. We must also tighten the rules in the electoral process to eliminate cross-district voting. We must also stop efforts to subvert elections with so-called “Golden Lists” that give the religious conservatives voter clout by again exploiting Saudis’ eagerness to elect “good” Muslims.”
What are your thoughts on this move by the king of Saudi Arabia?