Speed Reads

Women's suffrage

Saudi women can now vote for the first time ever

Voter registration opened up for women this week in Saudi Arabia, marking the first time in the country's history that women will be able to cast ballots and run in local elections. While the law granting females the right to vote and run for office was officially enacted four years ago, in September 2011, this week marks the first time that Saudi women are actually able to reap the benefits of the law.

In a country with historically limited women's rights, this is a huge step forward. "The participation of the Saudi women in the municipal elections as voters and candidates was a dream for us," Jamal Al-Saadi, one of the first women to receive her voter card, told the Saudi Gazette. "The move will enable Saudi women to have a say in the process of the decision making."

While voter registration turnout is off to a slow start, International Business Times reports that officials have said they expect it to pick up. Moreover, about 70 women told Arab News that they plan to run in the elections and another 80 plan to work during the elections as campaign managers.