Women in Saudi Arabia - level 3
Women have started arriving at polling stations in Saudi Arabia after being given the right to vote for the first time in the country's municipal elections. And in another first, they can also stand as candidates, despite the conservative kingdom being the only nation where women are not allowed to drive.
The introduction of women into public life and gradual moves towards electoral politics were won in the face of stiff opposition from the religious establishment.
“It's my first time to elect in our country. Actually, I’m coming here to support one of my friends. We believe in her, we believe in her ideas and I wanted to start to prove a point, that I’m supporting someone. I believe in our future, I believe in our roots as a female, supporting our country.”
But the move marks only a small step towards democracy and gender equality in the autocratic Islamic kingdom. This year's election differs from the two ran in 2005 and 2011 by giving voters the power to elect two-thirds of council members instead of half.
Difficult words: polling station (a building where voting takes place during an election), municipal (relating to town or district), conservative (traditional, old-fashioned), election (voting), establishment (the group in power), autocratic (not democratic).
What do you think about Saudi Arabia’s changes?
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