Thirty Saudi women sworn in
19 February 2013
Thirty Saudi women took seats in Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council, for the first time in the kingdom’s history, as they were sworn in before the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, on Tuesday at his palace in Riyadh.
The women took their seats in the same room with their 130 male colleagues and were sworn in collectively, state television said.
“The development we are working at must be gradual,” King Abdullah said in a brief statement broadcast on state television.
He recommended that the council show “realism” in its discussions and allow “reason to prevail in issues it has to deal” with.
On January 11, the king appointed the women, which include university graduates, human rights activists and two princesses, to the body also known as the Saudi Consultative Council.
The monarch took the decisions following consultations with religious leaders in Saudi Arabia.
King Abdullah has been carefully treading towards change, introducing municipal elections for the first time in 2005.
In 2011, he granted women the right to vote and run as candidates in the next local election, set for 2015, saying “we refuse to marginalise women’s role in Saudi society.”