Saudi women finally get a say
World

Saudi women finally get a say

Voting starts in first Saudi-poll open to women

Voting started in Saudi Arabia's maiden elections where females join in as voters and candidates.

After verifying their names on lists hanging on the walls and establishing their qualification with elections staff, each voter cast his/her vote on the ballot paper which they dropped into the ballot box.

The voting will take place from 8 a.m till 5 p.m. in the evening.

Timeline

25 Sep 2011: Saudi King gives rights to women

Saudi Arabia's king Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud announced the groundbreaking new directive that would allow women to vote and stand in municipal elections.

This rule will take form from the 2015 municipal elections.

The White House congratulated the King for ushering in hope for women empowerment in Saudi.

However, the King didn't touch the other issues such as women not being allowed to drive.

24 May 2015: Saudi government drafts laws allowing women in elections

Saudi government drafts laws allowing women in elections

Saudi Arabia government introduced the legislation needed to enable women to vote and run for office in council elections.

Article 66 of the new legislation specified that "any citizen with a valid ID can participate" and that the voters must be 18 years and above.

Those wishing to contest the elections should be 25 and over without any past criminal record.

Fact: 979 women candidates in December municipal elections

As of 29 November 2015, among the 6,917 registered candidates for 12 December election, 979 were women and made up less than 10% of the voting pool.

29 Nov 2015: Saudi women start their first ever election-campaign

Women in Saudi Arabia began their election campaigning but due to a number of restrictions the women said they would be relying heavily on social media.

The female candidates in Saudi Arabia can only campaign in the male quarters through a male spokesperson.

Moreover, official election commission Jadeeh al-Qahtani also bars any candidate from displaying their pictures in public in the 12-day campaign.

11 Dec 2015: Restrictions on the women candidates and voters

Restrictions on the women candidates and voters

Even though Saudi women stand at the threshold of getting elected and voting, the Human Rights Watch pointed out that many restrictions abounded.

Saudi female complained of the challenges they were facing in providing identity and residency proofs and of small number of registration centers.

Moreover, women candidates were prohibited from talking to the male citizens and also required to have segregated campaign offices.

12 Dec 2015: Uber works towards stronger women participation

Online taxi-hailing service Uber planned to provide Saudi Arabian women free rides to polling sites to help promote female participation at the first elections where women can get involved.

Joining hands with the Al-Nahda Philanthropic Society for Women this step is aimed to take women to cast their votes in a country where the women still can't drive without a guardian.

12 Dec 2015: Voting starts in first Saudi-poll open to women

13 Dec 2015: Saudi's first woman Councillor elected in Mecca

Saudi's first woman Councillor elected in Mecca

After allowing women to contest and vote in elections for the first time, a woman has been elected Councillor to Mecca's Municipal Council.

Salma bint Hizab al-Oteibi became the first elected woman official in Saudi Arabia after getting elected to the council of Madrakah in Mecca.

According to reports, Salma was running against 7 men and 2 women.