An op-ed in the Arabic Okaz, translated by sister-publication Saudi Gazette, notes that the appointment of women to Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council is a major step forward. The next step, the writer says, is to raise the percentage of women in the Council to approximate the percentage of women in the population. The most important future step, though, is to start making Council membership the result of elections, not political appointment.
That’s exactly right.
Shoura: From women’s membership to election
Shteiwi Al-Ghaithi | Okaz newspaper
The participation of women in the Shoura Council can be considered an addition to the women’s efforts aimed at making them equal to men in the management of the nation’s affairs.
The appointment of a number of women in the council was a crown to long years of struggle aimed at giving women a role in public life. Though women in the council are far less than men, yet this can be considered a quantum leap, as there were no women present in the legislative body a few years ago.
The next real step should be the expansion of women membership in the council. Instead of women constituting only 20 percent of the total members, the ratio should be increased to 40 or 50 percent. However, a most important step to be taken is to move from an appointed council to an elected one with wide authorities and powers to legislate and regulate.