King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz addressed the 150 members of the all-appointed advisory council (Shura) in September to announce that he rejects the marginalization of Saudi women. He said that after seeking advice from religious scholars within the country’s highest Islamic council and others outside of it, he had come to the decision to include women in the Shura and allow them full participation in future municipal elections.
This announcement came as a complete surprise to most Saudis. When word got out that the King was to address the Shura, most thought it was to speak about the housing crisis, a major concern and a point of grievance for many. And although there is a women’s suffrage campaign headed by Dr. Hatoon Al Fassi and Fawziah Al Hani, it was recently overshadowed by the campaign against the ban on women driving. So women’s suffrage and their appointment to the Shura was the last thing anyone was thinking about then. READ MORE