Saudi Arabia’s recent decision of appointing women in the consultative council is an important step for the country. Not only will such a decision include a key section of the society in the decision-making process, but it will also pave the way for further inclusiveness of women in the development process of the nation. King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz last week appointed 30 women to the Shura (consultative) Council — a first in the history of the country. One fifth of the council’s seats have been allocated to women, out of a total of 150. King Abdullah has instructed that women’s representation should be no less than 20 per cent of the total number of council members. The appointees are established professionals in their respective fields and enjoy equal rights as their male counterparts.
The introduction of women in the Shura Council is a necessary and natural evolution for women’s representation in various institutions and entities. Regardless of the fact that the step is a delayed one, it highlights the importance of the inclusion of this segment of the society. The step also opens the door for thousands of professionals and qualified women to take part in nation-building. However, most important of all is the recognition of women as equal partners in the country.