Saudi Arabian women get the vote

Olivia Griffin, Staff Reporter

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Nearly 100 years after American women received the right to vote, it is finally happening in Saudi Arabia. In a speech on September 25, King Abdullah granted Saudi Arabian women the right to vote and run in elections. The move comes come the heel of pressure of protests and outside pressure.

This decision is a milestone in the fight for women’s rights in the country, where the practices of veiling and female seclusion are common cultural and religious practices for the conservative Saudi Muslims who make up the majority of the country. Many predict that this new law will be the start of a new phase of women’s rights reformation.

Although it seems like the right to vote would greatly change the lifestyle of Saudi women, they are still forbidden to drive a car and must always have a male guardian supervising them in public.

However, for women’s rights advocates, this is a step in the right direction in a country greatly influenced by a conservative interpretation of Islamic law and culture.

“The government is taking baby steps,” said Erum al-Howaish, a politics student from Saudi Arabia, in an interview with the press. “They are trying to satisfy both factions of society.”