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At least 17 women elected in historic poll in Saudi Arabia #saudiarabia #elections #womenrights

 

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Against all odds, initial results of municipal elections in Saudi Arabia – the first in history which were opened to women, both as electors and  candidate – show a relatively high number of women rushing to the polling stations – if we consider the exceptionality of the  democratic process in Saudi Arabia – and at least 17 women elected and more to be announced.

Considering the limited power of local councilors, the participation in the vote cannot be considered as “an ultimate goal”, but just a very significant step forward in a country which has always segregated and discriminated women. Technology helped the integration: due to the limitation on women mixing with men, female candidates used social networks to contact voters, a method which did not breaks sharia rules, allowing candidates to campaign autonomously.

Even though Saudi former King Abdullah had started to open on women issues by the end of his office –  he had allowed women to be appointed to the Shura council and to participate in the academic life and in business – Saudi women independence is still fare from becoming a reality, but a real need for change can already been perceived throughout the country and the elections results clearly show it.

Valentina CALCAGNO

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