Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Saudi female council member on women's rights

One of the first Saudi Arabian women appointed to the previously all-male national council has expressed her resolve to further expand female rights.

Hanan Al-Ahmadi on Wednesday spoke to NHK during her stay in Japan.

She is among the 30 women who were sworn into the 150-member advisory council, the equivalent of parliament, in January of last year.

Their appointments came amid growing international criticism over the limited rights for women in the country. Saudi Arabia is governed by conservative Islamic principles. It is the only country in the world that bans women from driving.

Ahmadi said that just after their appointment there was a flood of criticism from those who disagree with women's participation in society.

But she said more and more people now approve of female council members.

Ahmadi also said the social taboo that does not allow women to work has caused higher unemployment and other problems.

She noted the country needs to carry out reforms while listening to the public.

She expressed her resolve to promote social advancement of women while protecting the traditions and culture of the country.