Saudi king makes historic female appointments

AFP – ABC News – Monday, 20 January 2013 (originally published 12 Jan)

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
King Abdullah has announced women will be allocated a 20 per cent quota in the consultative Shura Council. Image: ABC News

Saudi King Abdullah has appointed women to a top advisory body for the first time, with decrees published on Friday marking a breakthrough in a kingdom that imposes stringent restrictions on women.

The historic decisions mean that 30 women will now be allowed to sit on the previously all-male 150-seat Shura Council, although women in Saudi Arabia are banned from driving and denied the right to travel without male consent.

The decrees were welcomed by Saudi novelist Badriya al-Bishr as a “promise kept” by the king, who has been treading carefully over the years to empower women in his push for reforms . . .

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