Opinion: Saudi women’s suffrage mired in suppression

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


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10 responses to “Opinion: Saudi women’s suffrage mired in suppression

  1. nomoresaudi

    this article is full of propaganda on behalf of House of Saud. Exactly what you usually expect from the likes of Eman Al Nafjan.

    so she tells us that King Abdullah ,a man , who is 90 years old, semi-illiterate, polygamous, with absolute power , is the progressive side. really Mrs Eman ?

    she only mentioned it in passing, that the Shura council members(servants) are all-appointed.
    she doesn’t tell us that there are no real elections or political parties in Saudi Arabia , not for men or women , and if you demanded that , you will be sent to prison , like the rest of 30000 political prisoners now in Saudi, mostly men.

    she doesn’t tell us that all those crazy fundamentals have absolutely zero power , they too , are all appointed by the House of Saud, and if any one of them “misbehave” they will lose their job or join the 30000 , like the rest of us.

    she doesn’t tell us that all those crazy fundamentals have been created by the founder of Saudi Arabia , yet Mrs SaudiWoman is a big fan of him and the House of Saud, it’s in her name!
    she wants them to continue ruling our land , she just doesn’t like those bad-bad fundamentals, that’s all ,so she scapegoat them for everything. It’s easier this way, when she explains, to her White friends, why this country is so fu*ked up.
    nothing but pro-gov propaganda here.

    • Sara A.

      Since this article hardly shows the Government in a good light, I would drop the conspiracy theories. Do you need her to explicitly say that there are no representative elections in Saudi Arabia?? A barely literate reader can figure that out fairly easily. As for who are the big bad guys, just because there’s more than one doesn’t mean the fundamentalists are off the pedestal.

  2. Bob

    Sit around a table w/ 3.4 women and there are 3 or 4 conversations going on and none of those women miss a beat as to where each is in the stories…I get confused with Hello…..Saudi men are missing a good facilitat-ing force…..

  3. Once again the Question of Investiture affects the Political Spectra of The Post Classical World. A Social Dilemma perhaps Older than The Pyramids. It surprises me in this Age that The Saudi Monarchy has so much Influence over The Religious State. Is this an example of Freedom, or just another unpleasant aspect of Theocratic Government. Suppression, though is not unique to The Absolutionist. Any Threat to either the Established; Or The Progressive Status Quo should turn even the most Liberal Democratic into a Book Burning, Word Censoring, Authoritarian. Prometheus Bound et cetera, et cetera.

  4. bigstick1

    Give me a break. This government has just beheaded a witch and implements inquisition style tactics. There is nothing progressive in this King. In fact, my understanding is that he has killed more people under his reign than any other. This vote will do nothing to assist women; it is window dressing. Women in Saudi dress more conservatively than they did 30 to 40 years ago. They are going backwards not forwards and Saudi is leading the charge in that direction. They are financing this initiative to assist other countries in this backward momentum such as Egypt.

  5. TENI


  6. colomial girl

    Its a sad comment that those in the west don’t even want to try and understand and those that do are censured. The truth is harsh.

  7. Shafiek Naidoo

    My name is Shafiek Naidoo and I am from South Africa
    I like Eman Al Nafjan to came to South Africa and we can see
    what we can do in SA

  8. Saudi woman, this is abit related to driving but on a different type of vehicle:

    Let me know if you ever write an aricle about this and I will link into an international women’s cycling group on the ‘Net. I think injecting reality to a group of women who already experience the joy of independent travel by bike, is useful. (It makes our own complaints pale. :))

    Also some Middle Eastern planners might spout about cycling facilties soon….but that only makes best sense if women can cycle also freely as they wish.

    The reason why I am strongly sugggesting that a Muslim woman write on the topic of bicycling or lack of in the Middle Eastern countries, is that there is interest /effort in some major North American cities to design their cities to be more pedestrian friendly/cyclable where services and shops are only 1-5 km away from home.

    Sure the heat at your end is huge but then remember there are women cycling in Arizona and southern California at 40-45 degrees C in the summer.

  9. Use your brain ! (to those in power ). Driving is not haram, why forbid it? Look at Malaysia

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