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Saudi Arabia increases female participation in country's Shura Council Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Saudi Arabia increases female participation in country's Shura Council

Women were first accepted to Saudi Arabia's Shura Council in 2013 [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 December, 2016

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Recent reshuffles mean 30 women - one-third of all seats - are now members. However, the treatment of women more generally in public life continues to be highly repressive.
The mother of a man killed preventing an IS-affiliated suicide bomber from entering a Saudi Arabian mosque has been appointed to the country’s Shura Council.

Kawthar al-Arbash, a writer and journalist by profession, was named as a new member of the group which now includes 30 women. 

Her son Mohammed Ali bin Isa, and nephew Abdul-Jalil al-Arbash died were killed in Dammam in May 2015 after confronting a suicide-bomber, reportedly dressed as a woman, entering a mosque where the two young men were working as security guards.

On Friday King Salman bin Abdulaziz changed the secretary general of the country’s Shura council  — a political advisory body — in addition to shuffling a number of positions, on the same day he changed the country’s labour minister following recent reports of rising unemployment in the Kingdom.

Following the Shura re-shuffle women now account for a 20 percent quota in the Council. Women were first accepted onto the 150 seat council in 2013, a year before they were given the vote in the country. 

Saudi Arabia is regularly condemned by rights groups and international actors for its treatment of women who continue to play little role in public life in the highly conservative state.

Among other restrictions, women are not allowed to drive, hold high political office, travel without permission from a male guardian, and mix with men who are not relatives.

Translation: Many thanks to Guardian of the Two Mosques (a reference to Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz) for appointing me a member in the Shura Council. God save our country from all evil

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