A small step


Saudi Arabia King Abdullah swore in the country’s first female members of the Shoura Council, along with their male counterparts, and urged them to carry out the job with responsibility.

One fifth of the new council are women. The move to appoint women to the body was announced in 2011 but their names were only made public last month. The council is remodelling parts of its chamber to ensure strict gender segregation between members.

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


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