Thursday, 16 March 2017

Saudis unveil first-ever girls council – but no female was present at the event

Saudi Arabia unveiled its first ever inaugural girls’ council in the province of al-Qassim but failed to include a single female on a stage that had 13 men. The council is chaired by the governor’s wife, Princess Abir bint Salman, but the female members of the Qassim Girls Council were in a separate room, according to BBC, and appeared on video to discuss with the men. The Saudis had expected it praise from the public for its inclusiveness, instead, it drew a backlash on social media.

According to the laws in Saudi Arabia, women and men who are not related cannot be together. So while the council does have female members, they were apparently not allowed to be on stage with the men to talk about women's issues. 

Despite the backlash on social media, Saudi officials hailed the move as a positive step forward stating:
"In the Qassim region, we look at women as sisters to men,” said the province’s governor, Prince Faisal bin Mishaal bin Saud, “and we feel a responsibility to open up more and more opportunities that will serve the work of women and girls.” .

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