Hindus have welcomed Saudi Arabia’s reported historic swearing in of 30 women for the first time on February 19 to the previously all-male influential advisory 150-member Shura Council.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, termed it as a “step in the right direction” for the desert kingdom.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further described it as “an important positive step forward which raised hopes”. This participation of women in the political process, though largely a symbolic measure and long-awaited, was still quite significant by Saudi Arabia standards. The country undoubtedly was inching forward, though slowly, Zed added.
Rajan Zed pointed out that women had made significant contributions to Saudi society and this step would further their roles in the advancement of the country and world. In June last, Saudi Arabia announced allowing its women to compete in the Olympics for the first time. In September 2011, Saudi Arabia announced giving right to women to vote and run in future municipal elections from next term in 2015.
According to reports, women are not issued driving licenses in Saudi Arabia, need permission from a male relative to participate in public life, cannot make life’s many decisions on their own and segregation of the sexes is enforced. But, women graduates in Saudi Arabia reportedly outnumber male graduates.
Established in 1932, conservative Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, reportedly world’s dominant oil producer sitting on largest hydrocarbon reserves, is birthplace of Prophet Muhammad, cradle of Islam and land of two holiest mosques in Mecca (Masjid al-Haram) and Medina (Al-Masjid al-Nabawi). It is also home to Madain Saleh, huge sand dunes, Arabian oryx, spectacular reefs, and traditional Bedouin hospitality. King Abdullah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz Al Saud is head of the state.