Saudi Gazette reports on the selection of 30 women to become members of the Shoura Council, Saudi Arabia’s quasi-parliament and includes a listing of their names.
It will be interesting to watch the interaction of these women with their male peers. It will be particularly interesting to see how they fare with those male members who believe a woman’s proper place is in the home.
Optimism and worries
Laura Bashraheel & Fatima Muhammad | Saudi Gazette
JEDDAH — King Abdullah’s appointment of 30 women to the consultative Shoura Council in decrees announced Friday marked a historic first as he sustained his reforms push with deliberate empowerment of women.
Saudi women have long waited to be allowed full-membership in the all-male bastion, instead of being mere consultants, and their hopes of being part of the Kingdom’s growth has been realized with Friday’s decrees.
The decrees give women a 20 percent quota in the Shoura Council, a body appointed by the king to advise him on policies and legislation. One decree amended an article in the council’s statute to allow women to be members while the other named the 150 members, among them 30 women.
Each specialized committee will include no less than five members chosen by the Council including women. Women in Shoura will have the same rights as men and they are committed to duties, responsibilities and direct assignments.
In an opinion piece for Arab News, Abdulateef Al-Mulhim offers a look at the often-neglected role that women have played in Saudi politics, starting with Princess Noura, sister of King Abdulaziz bin Saud.
A giant leap for Saudi women
Last year Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah issued a royal decree that gave the Saudi women the right to vote in the municipal elections. Maybe that was a small step for Saudi women, but we knew it was a prelude to a giant leap for Saudi Arabia and Saudi women.
On Sept. 22, 2012 I wrote an article titled “Saudi women and their remarkable achievements.” In the article, I mentioned few names of Saudi women who served the country in many ways. After the article was published in Arab News, I received a number of e-mails from many parts of the world inquiring about one of the names of the women I mentioned in the article. This woman’s name is Princess Noura bint Abdulrahman Al-Saud.
Princess Noura was born in 1875 and was the sister of the founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. She was one of aunts of Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and Crown Prince Salman. People at the time called her the woman who has the brain of 40 men.
She was the most influential figure not only in Saudi Arabia but also in the whole region. This shows Saudi women were active and influenced the Saudi political and social scene years ago. Saudi women did not and still do not talk about their achievements. Their achievements speak on their behalf.
On Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, King Abdullah issued a historic royal decree to appoint 30 women to the Saudi Majlis Al-Shoura (Consultative Council) which consists of 150 members. This means women will hold 20 percent of the Majlis seats. The women picked for the posts are highly educated and have been very active in Saudi social and economic life long before their assignments. These women represent every thread of society and every part of the Kingdom.