Saudi Arabian Women Officially Voted in the Election
by Anjali Patel
Saudi Arabia took a crucial step forward to achieve political equality as women voted for the first time on Saturday.
According to BBC News, over 100,000 women signed up to participate in the ballot. Although this may seem like an insignificant number compared to the total population of women in the country, it is progress.
Saudi Arabia is a conservative nation that follows a strict, black and white interpretation of Islam. Women are still restricted from various rights such as driving. To many women and girls, the right to vote seemed like a quixotic idea. Although gaining this right is certainly not a brief process, it is gradually becoming a positive reality. Allowing women to participate in elections and run for office can drastically change society in Saudi Arabia. Not only do women’s roles change but giving them a voice will potentially shed light on various issues within the economy, government, or society that could have otherwise overlooked.
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia played a tremendous role in this progress but there is something merely ironic about his views. BBC News reports that he basically said women earned this right after expressing “correct opinions.” His statement could simply mean that many women have conveyed morals that promote being good people. These ground morals include honesty and helping others. However, what he said could also mean that society is not necessarily ready for exposure to or acceptance of contradicting perspectives that could challenge authority. I admit this is a lofty goal that requires an ample amount of time, energy, and perseverance. This goal does not have a finishing point but it is rather an ongoing process.
Even though every country is in a different place in terms of recognizing radical concepts and new ideas, each society is progressively crossing boundaries leading to some type of change. For example, in the United States, controversy regarding the excessive censorship on college campuses is rising. Therefore, many are taking initiative by making valid points about how college students must be exposed to visions that oppose their own for the betterment of the future. While these two nations are in completely different places, it proves that like numerous inhabitants of the United States, many Saudi Arabians are working towards a similar purpose of expanding what is considered to be “the norm.”
The right for women to vote in Saudi Arabia depicts a tremendous yet natural step. It should be widely applauded with the sincere acknowledgement of other issues pertaining to political equality that should be tackled next.
Anjali Patel is a high school student from New Jersey who’s livin’ life. She writes and formats for her school newspaper and literary magazine. In addition, she is the student council class treasurer and consistently volunteers for a local food pantry. She also writes for HelloFlo since writing is one of her main interests.