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Saudi Arabia King Swears in First Women on Shura Council

Although the council is appointed, not elected, and serves only as an advisory board with no legislative power, I’d still call this good news.

The monarch, seen as a proponent of gradual reform, has also granted women the right to vote and stand in the next municipal elections, scheduled for 2015.

Some Saudi clerics have criticised allowing women onto the Shura Council, saying it was against Sharia (Islamic law).

The king said he had consulted religious scholars, who had approved the move, before he made the appointments in January.

I’d love a world where Saudi Arabian women don’t need the permission of religious leaders to participate in government, but I’ll take what I can get, and it looks like King Abdullah will, too.

Via the Feminist Majority Foundation blog.