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Saudi Women Register to Vote for the First Time

The Kingdom's female population is eligible to vote for the first time ever, while a third of all poll stations will be reserved for women.

Saudi Arabia's women have started registering to vote in elections for the first time ever, since the late King Abdullah had announced in September 2011 that females will be granted the right to vote and compete in the elections. Despite taking effect four years after the given statement, legal voting age has been lowered from 21 to 18 and around a third of the 1,263 voting centres have been set aside to become specifically for female use.

The first two women to receive their voting cards, Jamal Al-Saadi and Safinaz Abu Al-Shamat, spoke about their excitement to be able to participate in such important happenings as part of the society. "The participation of the Saudi women in the municipal elections as voters and candidates was a dream for us.  The move will enable Saudi women to have a say in the process of the decision-making," says Al-Saadi.

Statistics show that around 70 women are running for office, while 80 intend to be campaign managers. Activists are also urging Saudi women to take part by organising workshops that stress on the importance of women exercising their rights.

Despite the fact that Saudi women are still a bit far from receiving full rights as citizens and part of the Saudi Arabian society, as they are not permitted to drive, engage in paid work or marry without the consent of a male guardian; this is a move in the right direction.


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