Saudi Arabia is no stranger to gender inequality. As of 2017, women in Saudi Arabia are still facing gender-oppressive laws on a day-to-day basis.
Women living in the world’s richest Arab nation are limited in their everyday lives. Women cannot vote, interact with men outside their family, walk outside uncovered, drive, open a bank account without a male present, play sports, or marry the man they love without their family’s consent.
Needless to say, is it a shock that the country’s latest attempt at saving face was a complete and utter failure?
In a weak attempt at addressing gender-equality, Saudi Arabia announced the formation of an all-girls council, in order to give women of the country more of a voice and offer more opportunities.
According to BBC, the governor of the al-Qassim was quoted saying, “In the Qassim region, we look at women as sisters to men, and we feel a responsibility to open up more and more opportunities that will serve the work of women and girls.”
When the Qassim Girls Council sat down for it’s first meeting this weekend, 13 men took the stage.
However, when Prince Faisal bin Mishaal bin Saud of Qassim province addressed the council in his opening speech was anything but unenthusiastic.
The Canberra Times reported that the prince was hopeful in this new development, expressing his optimistic view:
“It was not the reaction that Prince Faisal bin Mishaal bin Saud, the governor of Qassim province, had expected. In his speech to launch the council, he had expressed pride that his initiative could serve as an important step in breaking down gender barriers in the kingdom, noting that half of Saudi society is made up of women.”
Yet Twitter users did not share the same sentiment:
The launch of the Saudi Qassim Womens council today. Can't put my finger on it but it feels like there is something missing. pic.twitter.com/FEmzX2SUdI
— Pat Mahon (@Mr_Pat) March 14, 2017
— Rana H. (@RanaHarbi) March 13, 2017
— Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein) March 13, 2017
Yet it doesn’t seem to be the last attempt at addressing gender-relations. According to the Washington Post, the country has its women in mind, and is encouraging their participation across the workforce.
“A new plan has called for increasing Saudi women’s role in the economy, including boosting their participation in the workforce from 22 percent to 30 percent by 2030.”