Rabat - Saudi woman Salma bint Hizab al-Oteibi won a seat in the Madrakah’s municipal council in Mecca, in the country’s first ever elections open to female voters and candidates.
Rabat – Saudi woman Salma bint Hizab al-Oteibi won a seat in the Madrakah’s municipal council in Mecca, in the country’s first ever elections open to female voters and candidates.
The country’s election commission announced on Sunday the winning of al-Oteibi who was running against seven men and two other women in Saudi Arabia’s municipal elections.
Over 900 women contested against nearly 6,000 men for 284 council seats in the local elections.
Saudi women running for office faced several difficulties because of the country’s strict laws, which forbid female candidates to address male candidates.
Women candidates must speak from behind a screen while in public, according to Saudi laws.
The election of a woman to public office in Mecca, the holiest city of Islam, is considered by some as “a landmark step in a country” where women are still not allowed the right to drive and “are legally dependent on a male relative to approve almost all their major life decisions.”
Amid the progressive and liberal celebrations of the right of women to vote, some Saudi men did not like the new reform, stressing that “the role of a woman is at her home, administrating her house and raising her children.”
For Saudi women, the election of a woman to public office is “a historical achievement,” even though women accounted for fewer than 10 percent of all registered voters.