On Friday, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah chose 30 women to serve on the Shura advisory council. He also issued an order which requires one fifth of the council’s members to be women.
Many see the King’s decision as a step in the right direction, even though it’s rubbed ultra religious leaders the wrong way.
However, many question just how effective the new measures will be, since the advisory council does not have the authority to pass laws. In addition, women are still not allowed to drive, and Saudi men receive text messages when their wives or sisters attempt to leave the country.
Although Saudi women do not enjoy the same freedoms that women in others countries do, I would not be so quick to criticize King Abdullah’s new measures. It seems like he is working with a conservative society which is still controlled by religious leaders. I wonder if he knew that by appointing women to the advisory council, and requiring a quota, if he isn’t trying to grab the steering wheel a bit and change direction, even if it’s subtle.
Only time will tell to see if Abdullah’s strategy works.