Finally, Saudi King Abdullah may allow women to vote in Saudi Arabia aka Saudi A. The Middle Eastern king also said they will also run in public elections and become candidates in the Shura Council. What is behind the radical decision?
Shockingly, the monarch of the oil-rich country has strongly considered lifting the long-standing traditional rule that forbids women voting rights, says the Huffington Post.
Recently, Abdullah said:
"Because we refuse to marginalize women in society in all roles that comply with sharia, we have decided, after deliberation with our senior ulama (clerics) and others... to involve women in the Shura Council as members, starting from the next term."
Never in a million years did anyone outside of the country believe Muslim women in Saudi Arabia would be given the right to vote.
Furthermore, having the right to hold public office as men do is also a break from tradition.
"Women will be able to run as candidates in the municipal election and will even have a right to vote," the Saudi king added.
Currently, men and women are kept apart in the public. In fact, Saudi girls and women are not allowed to hold jobs in malls and other stores unless they are serving the same gender.
Of course, the king of Saudi Arabia's decision is at best symbolic; the country operates under absolutist rule. In other words, while the Shura Council makes proposals, it is up to the monarch to give approval.
However, if Abdullah accepts the proposal by the advisory council, perhaps the milestone should be called "Women's Day".
Nonetheless, it is a victory for women, especially Saudi girls growing up, who now can hold public office, and have their voices heard without harsh punishment.
Political pundits in Middle Eastern foreign policy believe the recent wave of violence across the region is behind the decision. Did the toppling of leaders by the people influence the Saudi King's decision to allow women voting rights?
Whatever the reason is behind the move, Saudi Arabian culture is changing and setting the pace for its peers to follow.
Photo: Arab News [screen grab]