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Saudi King Swears in First Women Members of Advisory Council

World  (tags: Saudi Arabia, king Abdullah, female member, Islam, gender segregation, society )

- 1947 days ago -
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah on Tuesday swore in the country's first female members of the Shura Council, an appointed body that advises on new laws, in a move that has riled conservative clerics in the Islamic monarchy..

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Angelika R (143)
Tuesday February 19, 2013, 1:55 pm
Abdullah, who has not been seen on television since shortly after a back operation in November, was shown on state media sitting in a palace chamber to give a short speech as he swore in the new council members.

King Abdullah is seen as having pushed to cautiously advance the role of women in Saudi society.

The health of the king, who turns 90 this year, is closely watched in the world's top oil exporter because he has the final say on policy.

Major speeches in recent months have been made on Abdullah's behalf by his heir, Crown Prince Salman. State media have also listed Salman as chairing the weekly cabinet sessions in place of the king.

"Your place in the Shura Council is not as those who have been honoured, but as those who have been charged with a duty, as you represent part of society," he said, addressing the new women members.

One fifth of the new Shura Council are women. The decision to appoint women to the body, which functions in place of an elected parliament, was announced in 2011 but their names were only made public last month.

The Shura Council is remodelling parts of its chamber to ensure strict gender segregation between members.
Saudi Arabia's government is entirely appointed by the king, who is also prime minister. The country's only elections are for half the seats on municipal councils that have few powers.

Women will also have the right to vote and stand for office in the next municipal ballot, Abdullah said in 2011.

The decision to appoint women to the Shura Council prompted a protest by dozens of conservative clerics outside the royal court in January.

They complained that the move, and other reforms aimed at making it easier for women to work, went against sharia law.

In the ultra-conservative kingdom, women are banned from driving and need the consent of a male "guardian" to work, travel abroad or open a bank account.

Rose Becke (141)
Tuesday February 19, 2013, 6:00 pm
More power to women

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Wednesday February 20, 2013, 5:03 am
It would be great if His Majesty listen to their advice too. It would be great if that council has an active and a role in planning and issuing or even making decisions related to an important subject / question : To whom should oil money go ? and what is the percentage of Saudi income given to members of the royal family and to regular citizens?

Ben Oscarsito (153)
Wednesday February 20, 2013, 5:28 am
Oh yeah...? -Big deal, King Abdullah is a bloody dictator - DAMMIT!!!

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday February 20, 2013, 3:59 pm
.."would be..." we know it is just all show.

Lynn D (0)
Thursday February 21, 2013, 12:59 am
I hope it's for real and not just show................

Helen Porter (39)
Thursday February 21, 2013, 3:04 am
A king confident in his manhood.

I wouldn't mind being in his harem. lol

Angelika R (143)
Thursday February 21, 2013, 9:55 am
lol John, maybe so-guess the king will not pick them up personally..

Gene Jacobson (290)
Thursday February 21, 2013, 12:38 pm
I have a question. Maybe two. Will they be allowed to drive themselves to meetings? And, will they have to have their husband's consent to vote in any particular way on any particular issue? I think this is window dressing, the Whabbism practiced there is more extreme than anywhere else. So forgive me if I wait until something actually happens before joining Saudi Arabia's parade.

Angelika R (143)
Thursday February 21, 2013, 1:49 pm
Quite a spectrum of different enjoyable comments here...about what I had expected!
Gene-absolutely valid questions ( i'd suggest a NO to the 1st and a YES to the 2nd) -you stand excused, of course! ;-) :o))

Birgit W (160)
Thursday February 21, 2013, 4:19 pm
I wonder how she got this job!

bob m (32)
Thursday February 21, 2013, 5:46 pm

So heart warming eh?... didja see ole abdullah wave his ole fat hand at all the girls infront of him in a line ... I can just imagine one might be in his own harem ... or more... ..He'd say .. .." hey Abdul; that's one of mine eh?... 3rd bag from the left... AWWWWWWWWW!

Mitchell D (87)
Thursday February 21, 2013, 6:50 pm
We will see what we will see, and it will be what it will be.

mary Lee (2)
Thursday February 21, 2013, 6:51 pm
King Abdulla has just fulfilled part of this prophesy from the Age of Women:
"Slowly, over the past century in particular, women have been arising, representing the ascendancy of women in many cultures—not all cultures but many cultures. This is a natural evolution, as we have said. It must happen. And the human race will be far better for it. To hold women back and assign them domestic duties alone is a great mistake. It will deny the human family far greater resources that would be available otherwise.

The confusion about male and female roles, the masculine and the feminine, has led to a great retardation in human development and great abuse of people throughout the ages in many cultures. To limit women to child raising and domestic duties and minimal employment opportunities is a great mistake, and wherever that exists in any culture, that culture will suffer as a result. Until recently, in most societies in the world, women were considered to be simply the possession of men—a valuable possession, but a possession, something you could buy or sell or trade or destroy—and that is one of the reasons that human civilization has progressed so very slowly.

Why has it taken humanity so long to really make advancements? It is not simply energy and technology, the limits there, that have held you back. It is the restraint upon the roles of men and women. It is the weight of history and tradition. It is the expectations of children. So for a woman who is destined to become a provider within religion and spirituality, how will her talents ever be recognized in a culture that does not allow her to assume any roles within this context? And will she not suffer as a result of being unable to meet her culture’s expectations and demands?

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Hector Rodriguez (4)
Thursday February 21, 2013, 7:31 pm
They must be "their male agents" disguised as women (very easy with those burka customs).

Just to show "progress" in gender issues.

Ridiculous arabics, trying to go back to medieval times.


Jaime Alves (52)
Thursday February 21, 2013, 11:41 pm
Wow lets all applaud, fantastic, breath taking, this from a country that is the biggest sponser of Terror in the world, that breeds lions in captivity to show how brave there men are, lol Saudi Arabia is a monster.!!

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Friday February 22, 2013, 7:11 am
I am a critic of Saudi Arabia's ruling system but I think we have to encourage the step taken to give a chance for women to take part in their country's affairs. I am not surprised by the comments coming from some people who are only interested in attacking that country and its culture. No body have the right to disrespect other peoples' culture. So let us be subjective and push for a real active role for Saudi woman instead of talking about driving permits and harem.

Gene Jacobson (290)
Friday February 22, 2013, 9:15 am
Sorry, Mr. Diab, but every journey begins with a single step. This "step" really isn't one, in my opinion. Until Saudi Arabia holds women equal to men with all the privileges, including driving themselves around, alone (you might be interested in a study I read yesterday that proved women drivers are MUCH safer drivers than men), shows like this for the camera really don't mean much. Equalizing the power between the genders, in full measure, now that would be a significant first step toward change in Saudi Arabia. This is more of what we have long seen from this country, say one thing, but do another in private. Like talking about the schools they fund in other countries but neglecting to mention those schools teach the strictest interpretation, the bloodiest and most damaging to women interpretation, as well as teaching that we, all who are not they, are only fit for killing. I could find you the source for that story, since I first read it here and it was about schools in Germany, but you can do your own research. This country funds more terrorist activity than the rest of the region combined, all the while smiling nicely for the camera. Frauds are frauds, Mr. Diab. And this is that, in my opinion, not a harbinger of real change at all, just a change in window dressing. That's not disrespect either, it is observation over a life time. Just as we Kaffir's are judged by Islam, so to do we have the right, and under our moral code, the responsibility to object to ill treatment wherever we find it.

bob m (32)
Friday February 22, 2013, 11:38 am

ReCulture from Abdy...Well sir; as to culture I see little but a twisted bankrupt darkness parading as culture.. but then some can't even help but choke (the prophets' end ) on the obvious.. cult...ural awareness indeed.

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Saturday February 23, 2013, 6:34 am
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bob m (32)
Sunday March 3, 2013, 8:40 pm

Slowwwwwly I turned.......step by step.......
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