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02/20/2013

Saudi women sworn in king's advisory council

Saudi Arabia marked a tiny step towards women's advancement. The 30 women appointed to the advisory council for the first time ever have been sworn into office. The women took their seats in the same room as their 130 male colleagues before King Abdullah gave them a welcome speech which was a bit brusque.  

“Our goal is based on activating the work of the council with a realization founded on rationality that does not rush into urgency which carries noise with no result,” Al Arabiya reported him as saying

The council doesn't have much power. It can propose and draft laws but ultimately it is up to the king to make laws.

Still, one of the new female members was positive.  

“The main challenge is to show that Saudi women are able to participate in the national responsibilities like men,” Thuraya Obaid told the Arabic channel. 

Hamida Ghafour is a foreign affairs reporter at The Star. She has lived and worked in the Middle East and Asia for more than 10 years and is author of a book on Afghanistan. Follow her on Twitter @HamidaGhafour

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