“Of course it is not enough, but given that we were nowhere yesterday this is a big step,” says Muna AbuSulayman, a Saudi TV commentator and women’s activist with the Alwaleed Foundation. “The whole idea that women can fully participate in what is available, that is a major cultural shift that is occurring in Saudi Arabia.”
“Little girls growing up knowing that they can be part of the Shura Council will change the way they feel about themselves.”
She credits King Abdullah with pushing women forward even if the entire population of the conservative kingdom is not yet there.
“This is a bold move saying, ‘I know we are not there yet as a people, but I am saying we are going to force this issue,'” she says. “We have about four years to get the rest of society in line and that gives people time to actually accept it.”