Sunday, September 25, 2011

Women will get the rights to vote and run for office in Saudi Arabia.

Women in one of the most repressive countries in the world will have rights that women in the United States were denied less than 100 years ago. That's an extraordinary rate of global progress. (via)

ADDED: I originally wrote that this would happen "soon," but I've omitted that word since it won't happen till after the upcoming municipal elections, and the next ones happen 4 years from now. (Municipal elections are the only elections in Saudi Arabia.)

Women can't legally drive in Saudi Arabia, which obviously limits their freedom to vote. In many cases, a man's decision about whether to drive a woman to the polls will determine whether she can actually exercise the right. No one would claim that Saudi Arabia is anywhere close to a paragon of feminist enlightenment, but even a reform that might be considered weak on its own can lead to more progress down the road.