Women to Get the Vote in Saudia Arabia

One of the most fundamental of human rights is the right to participate in the making of the laws that govern you; and the basic right behind that is the right to vote. This might seem so clear to us now that it needs no mention, but equally clearly that hasn’t always been the case, one of the glaring illustrations being the relatively recent nature of women’s suffrage. Canada allowed women the vote only in 1917; the United States in 1920; France in 1944; and Switzerland in 1971. (There’s a good chart on Wikipedia that let’s you sort by country, by date, or by voting age.)

However, in the last fifty years or so, all countries in the world with the exception of Saudia Arabia extended the vote to women. Now King Abdullah has stated that he intends to take that step in time for the 2015 elections.

It remains the case, however, that women in that country are not permitted to drive automobiles, may not leave the country without the permission of a male relative, and may be flogged for committing adultery.


  1. I am pleased for Saudi women. As you hint, Simon, I, and I’m sure they, would be even more pleased were they not to have to rely on their husbands (or fathers, or brothers, etc.) to drive them to the polls.

  2. Surprised…

    I am surprised, Mr. Fodden, that this being a website dealing with all things legal….osrta, kinda, that you neglected to mention that woem have virtually no standing in court of law, their testimony being given either one half or one quarter the legal weight of a mans.

    There is also the small issue of the beheading of women as in the case of the Indonesian maid, Ruyati Binti Satubi Saruna.


    But as if that was not enough, Ms. Sarunas headless body was dangled by a helicopter high above the crowd for the viewing pleasure of the hundreds of Saudi creme de la creme who had come to watch her last miserable moments.

    I also take issue with the year of implementation for the womens vote, all reports I have read say that the “issue” will have to be carefully reviewed as there is virtually “no end” of difficulties to be encountered in setting up separate polling booths.

    And don’t get me started on the Saudi’s being one of the world’s largest and certainly most enthusiastic exporters of terrorism….but I digress….

    Good article though…another voice added to the din of condemnation of one of the last strongholds of barbarity is a good thing…

    Regards, Don Laird
    Edson, Alberta, Canada

  3. Dear Professor Fodden,
    Over the past several months women have been defying the driving ban in Saudi Arabia. Today, one woman, identified only as Shema, was sentenced to 10 lashes for defying that ban. The campaign Women2drive which endorses the right for women to drive has stated than an appeal of the sentence will be launched.

  4. Yup the Saudi’s give women the right to vote but they can’t drive to the polling stations and their not allowed to leave their home without their husbands permission HaHaHaHa. Can’t get there, they can’t vote but the Saudi’s did give them the right to vote “sigh”…..