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Women Can Vote And Run For Office, King Of Saudi Arabia Declares

Saudi Arabian women may now vote and run for office, King Abdullah declared on Sunday, ending a portion of the restriction on women’s rights in the region. Women in Saudi Arabia are still required to have a male chaperone (usually a male relative) to do most things and are still forbidden from driving. Therefore, the extent to which women actually can exercise their right to vote or to run for office may be limited. However, the king has indicated with this decree that the kingdom may be inching towards change. According to The New York Times, he told the country in an address, “We refuse to marginalize the role of women in Saudi society.” He added that women will be appointed to a government council that advises the monarchy on policy.I’m as pleased as anyone to hear Saudi women have been granted the right to vote. But it seems premature to celebrate this news given the dozens of other ways their lives are restricted. Voting may be a small step towards equality, but one hopes Saudi women will use it as a crowbar to open up more freedoms into their world.

[NY Times]
[Guardian UK]

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