What is it with the tremendous media excitement that followed the announcement of Saudi women being allowed to become members of the Shura Council?
If we stand outside of the box, it’ll appear a trivial matter; almost all parliaments in the world include female parliamentarians, and therefore, why it is surprising to see thirty Saudi women becoming members of the Shura Council?
A long and complicated story, the news is much more than just “a woman and a seat” at the Shura Council. We can look back at a recently issued decision by the kingdom, where shops had been “feminized,” in which women broke the ceiling and were allowed to work in grocery and lingerie stores: even these simple professions have been viewed with controversy within the Saudi community.
Accordingly, it is a courageous decision by King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz who worked over the years to enhance Saudi women’s place and status in almost all fields, starting with their right of education to granting them thousands of scholarships so they can study at universities around the world. The king then enacted decrees for their employment in new professions. He has also allowed women to be part of senior government positions, and participate in the management of ministries and diplomatic work that was previously limited to men.
This is why we are witnessing today change and development, led by the king, that express the modern needs of the country, as well as women's rights; women have always participated in Islamic history and were not locked at home as antagonists claim.
Women had always participated in Islamic history and were not locked at home as antagonists claimAbdulrahman al-Rashed
Even in the Saudi local customs in the past, women used to appoint men in the fields of war, business, debate and poetry, but the recent changes have disordered the concepts and roles of women in the community where 90 percent of it moved from rural areas to metropolises; the status of women has regressed rather than evolving.
In fact, the king did not only issue orders in the past years, but he was always expressing his desire in public meetings for the need to grant women new opportunities. He addressed the ordinary citizen who trusts him, his vision and decisions.