Saudi Women Given Right to Vote

King of Saudi televises pledge to let women have public say
Monday , 26 September 2011
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
A woman in Saudi Arabia
A woman in Saudi Arabia

Women were celebrating in the Middle East on Sunday (25 September) after King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia made a public speech pledging to let women have the right to vote in his country.

When the elections rolls around in 2015 women will be allowed to vote as well as run for candidacy. “We refuse to marginalise the role of women in Saudi society in every aspect,” said King Abdullah during his five-minute televised speech.

The next election takes place next week but for now women will have to wait three years before their voices are heard legally, although women are already rejoicing. “This is great news,” said Wajeha al-Huwaider, a women’s rights activist and writer in Saudi. “Women’s voices will finally be heard,” and she continued that, “now it is time to remove other barriers like not allowing women to drive cars and not being able to function, to live a normal life without male guardians.”

Changes couldn’t have come soon enough it seems because in May (2011) Manal Al Sharif, 32, was arrested for posting a video on the internet of herself driving in Saudi Arabia. Women are still banned from getting behind the wheel and they’re not allowed to apply for a job or leave the country without the permission of a male family member.

The 2015 elections will be a historic day to remember.