Saudi females have voted and run for office for the first time in History during Saturday’s municipal elections.
The step for a more democratic country was widely covered and praised throughout worldwide media. The Telegraph reported that the election ‘marked an important step forward’.
According to BBC’s report, a total of 978 women registered as candidates, alongside 5,938 men. And Officials have said about 130,000 women had registered to vote in Saturday’s poll, compared with 1.35 million men.
In order to understand what this change means for those living in the country, I spoke to Saudi women.
But what do Saudi females feel about this move?
A Saudi female artist who didn’t want to be named shared her views on the votes:
“I didn’t participate in the voting; to be honest there wasn’t much awareness about the voting process for women. For me, it doesn’t make that much of a difference as to who is the town council because you never see the results of it. I know it sounds like a big deal but it actually isn’t such a big deal, we’re not living in a democratic country for voting to matter”
Saudi Arabian females that I spoke to feel that the government need to prioritise on more important changes such as ‘the male guardian aspect’. They believe that they should be able to process their official documents without the consent of a male.
Women who are also prohibited from driving were brought to the polling stations with male guardians. Under the strict Sunni regime, females in Saudi Arabia face other constraints such as segregation.
Another question that has arisen is as to how those elected females will work around restrictions. According to BBC’s report their plans are to use social media to keep in touch with the public.
Whilst the votes were a spark of hope for those aspiring for a more democratic country, the vast majority of females remain concerned for the boundaries on their freedom.