King Abdullah grants 30 seats on 150-member parliamentary Shura council in move welcomed by rights advocates
The Saudi king has granted women seats on the country’s top advisory council for first time. The move heralds a much anticipated step for women to get a foothold in a country where men dominate the political system and ultraconservative Islamic law tightly controls female daily life.
The appointments come against the backdrop of heavy restrictions on women who are not allowed to travel, work, study abroad, marry, get divorced or gain admittance to a public hospital, without permission from a male guardian. Recently, airport authorities were instructed to send text messages to the phones of male guardians – husbands, fathers or brothers – with information about the movements of their wives, daughters or sisters.