Saudi Arabia just brought about a revolutionary change in its system!
For the first time ever, the women of Saudi Arabia have registered to vote! Later this year, elections will be held. Women are also allowed to stand for elections. For a country that barely has women’s rights, this move is very progressive.
Jamal Al-Saadi and Safinaz Abu Al-Shamat became the first women to register as voters when they reached the electoral offices in Madinah and Makkah, respectively on Sunday, as told by the Saudi Gazette.
The registration lasts for 21 days, but Shamat wanted to be “the first woman to arrive at the center,” as she thought it was a national duty to participate in the elections.
In 2011, when the internet was outraged because of the lack of women voters in the country, King Abdullah announced that women would be allowed to vote but that never happened till now.
“This long overdue move is welcome but it’s only a tiny fraction of what needs to be addressed over gender inequality in Saudi Arabia,” said Amnesty International UK’s Karen Middleton.
Haifa al-Hababi, 36, said: “Change the system. Change is life. The government has given us this tool and I intend to use it.”
Though this hardly scratches the surface of the rights that women of Saudi Arabia should be given, at least it is a start. They require permission from their male guardians (father or husband) to travel abroad or work. Hospitals also require women to get permission from their male relatives before any medical procedure.
The Right to Vote may just be the beginning of a much needed change in their system. We are glad to witness a progressively changing country 😀