Saudi Arabia: no votes for women

Voter registration in EP begins next week

Mayor Dhaifullah bin Ayesh Al-Otaibi

From Arab news

DAMMAM: Thousands of Eastern Province men are likely to sign up to cast ballots in the Kingdom’s next round of municipal elections when voter registration begins next week. Officials say they are ready to enroll voters.
These elections were originally planned for October 31 2009.

”We have seen how people participated in large numbers in the Asharqia Chamber elections last year,” said Mansour Al-Oraifi, 39, who works for a multinational company based in Ras Tanura. “There were similar reports that people lacked interest, but in the end there was a large turnout and the whole experience was enlightening. This election will be contested fiercely. Who would not want to run? My family members will be in the race, and we will all canvass very hard to get them elected.”

Women will, again, be excluded from voting.
Al-Oraifi was mum on the disenfranchisement of women.
“That is the decision that the government has taken,” he told said. “I can’t comment on that.”

Can it be defended in Islam that women are excluded from casting their vote? Or is this because of Saudi culture? Or is it that the Saudi men don’t want women to have any influence?
What do you think?


26 Responses

  1. Since everyone over there in the Arab world is in protest mode anyway, the women should all go out and protest this election. As a matter of fact, on election day, women of the world should also go out and protest in front of all Saudi Embassies.

  2. I think women should show up for registration anyway.

  3. Shouldn’t each woman have 2 votes? :-)))

  4. I don’t understand why men don’t want women to vote. Why are men so afraid of women?

    It is a fact that countries which deny women rights and freedom and don’t allow them to contribute in the economy will never be successful. To help a developing country to actually develop, the most important factor is to free women. To give them their rights, and to free them from the burden of continual childbearing by giving them contraception.

  5. djd, more like one vote for every two women 😉

  6. Aafke, if they let women vote they will have to let them get their pictures taken for I.D. so they don’t cheat and then since they already suffered the indignity of people knowing their names and as well as getting their pictures taken they might as well have drivers licenses and then all HELL would break loose! It just really isn’t worth the risk I suppose. It’s all just too much, it’s making my head spin!

  7. “The government has yet to announce when, if ever, Saudi women will get the right to cast ballots in elections.”

    Here you have it. It’s not god, tradition or society that decide whether women can be recognized as full citizens (human beings) or not, it’s the government.

    Empowering women will undermine extremism, man domination, government’s divide and conquer policy and will create formidable work force and a united society.

    All of this means less money for ruling men’s bank accounts, enslaving half of the population and end total control over every aspect of people’s lives and livelihood.

  8. Lynn, that’s it, of course if women get to vote it will end up in fornication!

  9. Some women are apparently planning to show up for voter registration. Not that I think they will get anywhere but I admire their determination and attempts :

  10. Yes, women are making a political, we count too, stance and showing up to register….some have been turned away but some have actually managed to do it.

    In the end it means nothing as even the mens vote means nothing but it is a step…

  11. Here’s the link to the year women gained the right to vote around the world. I found it interesting that Switzerland was very late – 1971.

  12. There should be an hour of global unity with all wearing an armband or bracelet in favor of Saudi women gaining the right to vote. Perhaps there can also be some kind of online support too?

    In response to the issue of a photo for id, a thumb print can be used for identification over a photo.

  13. I don’t know that it is Islam keeping women from voting, but maybe men are conditioned to speak for women or represent them, therefore, why would women need to vote? Their men can do it for them. And the women can just shop and stay home and socialize and not bother their pretty little heads with the men’s world of politics.

  14. Susanne,

    That has a lot to do with it and there are many Saudi women who have no interest in voting or not. However for those of us who do have the opportunity to vote and have used that freedom it does give such a greater sense of nationalism … in my own opinion.

  15. Oh,I agree! I love voting! 🙂 I was just trying to get inside their heads …

  16. Another question related to this might be whether or not the people feel they truly are making a difference by voting. If they don’t feel they are by voting, what does it matter if the women are allowed to vote or not?

  17. Because it is their right! 🙂

  18. It’s got nothing to do with Islam. If you look at the stats I posted women can vote in many Islamic countries.

  19. Yes, I agree with Wendy, from my understanding of Islam, women have the right to vote. It sounds like in Saudi Arabia this is more of a cultural thing, and men being afraid to give women some power.

  20. You really don’t think it could be related to the same reason that in sharia a woman’s testimony is only worth half that of a man?

  21. Women in Saudi have the right regardless of what there man thinks- to get an ID card. The card has a photo. It’s their choice. I understand practically speaking it isn’t always- but legally it is.

    Muslim women vote in many muslim countries and have even been head of state.

  22. My grandmothers were the first women in our families allowed to vote. When women in the US were fighting for that right, they were beaten, jailed and put in mental institutions. Men were terrified of upsetting the proverbial apple cart so they fought it tooth and nail. The US did not go to hell in a handcart when women got the vote. If the women of Saudi Arabia want ANY of their rights, then it will have to be THEM that stand together to demand and fight for them. We women of other countries can support them and pray for them, but it is the women of Saudi who must fight the battle.

  23. Sandy, that’s good to know. I thought that the IDs were one of the issues brought up against women voting back when Saudi had it’s first election a couple years ago. Is this ID law a newish law?

  24. @Lynn,
    Yes it is.

  25. Well, very good. There’s one big hurdle jumped. 😉

  26. I remember how excited my mother-in-law was when she received her very own bank card!

    Voting may take baby-steps but I do believe it will happen for women in the Kingdom at some future point.

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