For the first time, polling stations opened for female voter’s in Saudi Arabia to finally contribute to a society that they make up almost half. Making its mark in history was a change that didn’t go unnoticed on Dec. 12.
For the first time women’s voices are being heard, according to a Saudi Arabian Portland State Alumni, Summer Musa, who stated, “It is about time!…It’s a good move towards reform in implementing the start of Saudi women’s equal rights in the country.”
About time indeed. A change has taken place for Saudi women’s voices to be heard publicly, despite a number of limitation of restrictions, like the ban on women driving.
Although, Musa is seeing this sign of reform as a stepping stone for more modification by having an optimistic attitude when she said, “For something like this to happen it does take some time. For instance, when we look at a strong country like the United States, women also had limited restrictions as well” Musa continued, “Like the struggle to vote and to have equal rights at one time here, and it took many years and a lot burning brasseries for women of the U.S. to be where they are today.”
Musa shed some light on the mirroring change that could take effect in Saudi Arabia one day when she added, “Like the U.S. years ago, change had to start somewhere, where women came together and stood in unison to see that something were to happen for them to feel valued in their own country.”
When it comes to the voting matter, Musa drove a point home stating, “Women were seen but their voices weren’t heard and this new adjustment brings our voices right into the spotlight.”
According to the Washington Post, “The municipal council races across the kingdom also included the first female candidates – more than in total – seen as pioneers by many but also denounced by some hard – line Islamist’s as unfit for public role.”
Only trying to bring the significance of women voting down, a lot of people will probably think it is a sliver of change that occurred in the kingdom. But to challenge their thoughts, one might say change shouldn’t be measured but seen as a start for more to follow in its place, like a domino effect.
Allowing women to vote and be elected into politics is something that could change the status of women in Saudi Arabian society forever. Having a chance for women to articulate their issues can lead to an even greater change like women holding positions in higher up places.
With the help of social media, having its hand in spreading change has made this adjustment knowledgeable to millions of people around the world. Giving Saudi women a push to either register to vote or run for election in 2019.
Not every woman went out to vote when the change occurred. For reasons such as being too jaded to vote because they didn’t think their vote would matter, or if they simply didn’t know they had the option to.
Nevertheless, the fact that 130,000 women voted shows that it’s a step in the right direction. Musa, expressed that “It is normal for people (women) to be scared or feel uncomfortable to vote at first. With more time that passes on, as this change continues to make a big impression on publicity with bringing awareness that now the women of Saudi Arabia can vote will make a bigger impact in the long run.”
“We would not be a universal world if we all lived under one specific way of life.” Musa stated, “If we did live that way it would be like global communism, if everyone would be expected to live the same exact way under the same laws.”
Although not everyone votes, the point is that the option is now available. A lot of this forward change has to do with the political spotlight that now the world is looking at through a microscope.