Saudi Women Flock To Register Themselves For Historic Polls

Zohaib Ahmed
The first female voter registrations in KSA were apparently a big hit.

Saudi Arabia has long been criticized for its oppression of women's rights, but there is finally some good news that suggests the tide is turning for women in the kingdom.

Two women registered themselves as voters for the upcoming municipal elections, which are to be held in Makkah and Madinah.

Jamal Al-Saadi and Safinaz Abu Al-Shamat have become the first two female voters to claim the right to vote in the oil-rich nation, reports.

“The participation of the Saudi women in the municipal elections as voters and candidates was a dream for us,” Saadi said. “The move will enable Saudi women to have a say in the process of the decision-making.”

Both women were extremely excited to register themselves and had prepared all the paper work in advance, leaving nothing to chance.

“I was quite ready for this day,” Saadi added. “I have prepared all the documents needed to obtain a voter's card. This is a nice experience to go through. We are just at the beginning of the road.”

Saudi Women, female voter registrations

Shamat, meanwhile, revealed that she left home early in order to beat the all-female crowd she anticipated at the center.

“I was the first woman to arrive at the center,” she said. “I was the first to register and the first to obtain a voter's card in Makkah.” 

Not content with just voting, Saadi says she might even run for office herself.

"I may have such ambitions – I love to go through this experience till the very end,” she said.

She also had an answer for those who assume women's choices at the polls will be influenced by their family men. A successful businesswoman, Saadi said her vote will go to someone whom she trusts and has a good public service agenda.

While it is easy to criticize the Saudi government for their treatment of women, the kingdom has finally taken a step in the right direction, for which some respect is in order.