King Abdullah Gives Saudi Women the Right to Vote – Just to Battle

Last week Canadian fossil-fuel lobbying group EthicalOil vaunted its ethical superiority to Saudi oil, because Saudi women can’t vote. Today, Saudis evened the playing field.

Saudi King Abdullah announced on Sunday that he was giving women the right to vote and run in municipal elections. What a coincidence. One week after it seemed that Canadian oil was going to beat the Saudis to the gigantic American market by making an inane comparison between the relative ethicality of the two fossil fuel purveyors, according to Zawya: King Abdullah has given Saudi women the right to vote. Suddenly now, dirty energy lobbying group EthicalOil doesn’t have a marketing leg to stand on. If Saudi women can vote, then Canadian dirty fossil fuel is no better than Saudi dirty fossil fuel.

Who knows how many millions that carefully focus-group consumer-tested message cost the tar sands industry to concoct. (It worked too, even here at Green Prophet, check Karin’s poll: Is Canada’s Tar Sand Oil More Ethical Than Saudi Oil? (POLL) The entire message was Buy Canadian, because Canadian fossil fuel was less bad than Saudi fossil fuel, being “democratic”. (But No, Canada – There is No Ethical Oil)

“Starting with the next term, women will have the right to run in municipal elections and to choose candidates, according to Islamic principles,” the king said in an unexpected move to enfranchise women in the ultra-conservative kingdom. What is more, they won’t just be voting. He also dropped this bombshell.

“We have decided that women will participate in the Shura Council as members starting the next term,” he added. So women will be able to run for office in four years.

This week, Saudi elections will mark a milestone. More than 5,000 men will compete in Thursday’s municipal elections, only the second in Saudi Arabia’s history, to fill half the seats in the kingdom’s 285 municipal councils. The other half are appointed by the government.

But the right to vote is a far larger historic moment. Women’s rights activists have long fought to gain the right to vote in the kingdom that applies a strict version of Sunni Islam and bans women from driving or travelling without the consent of a male guardian.

What an ironic historical moment if a major civil right was won because of market competition. Maybe EthicalOil should harp on about how its climate-destroying fossil fuel is better because Canadian women may drive all by themselves. Can Saudi women’s drivers licenses be far behind?

Even better, what if Saudi Arabia were to fight back by exposing how Canada has just shut down its climate scientists? (Canada Muzzles Climate Science Cheney/Bush-Style) America should buy the more ethical Saudi climate-destroying fossil fuel because Canada is silencing the messenger with the bad news about climate-destroying fossil fuels. Now there’s a great marketing campaign!

Related stories:

No, Canada – There is No Ethical Oil
Honk Heard Around the World: Saudi Spring for Women Drivers Begins Now!
Canada Muzzles Climate Science Cheney/Bush-Style

Facebook Comments



Get featured on Green Prophet. Email us with tips and news: [email protected]

9 thoughts on “King Abdullah Gives Saudi Women the Right to Vote – Just to Battle”

  1. Thanks, Tinamarie. Yes, of course it is snark – and coming not from a nascent democracy, full of hope, like in the MENA region, but coming from a tired old “democracy” that has rendered ALL of our mere human votes meaningless, by literally giving an equal vote to corporations!

  2. Tinamarie says:

    Love your snarky take how Saudi women might get the right to drive themselves…if only it wasn’t market forces creating these supposed rights for women, but a true paradigm shift in how many in the region view womankind.

  3. tyler says:

    LOL. is this a serious article. haha. saudi arabia is still a VERY oppressive authoritarian monarchy. OIL sucks regardless. stop it all. but REALLY, is this article trying to be taken seriously..

    1. I agree we should stop all oil, but the world would collapse if this happened today. We need to be practical about transitioning to renewables.

  4. Sonia says:

    As much as I would like to believe that consumers are willing to make green choices based on ethics, and as much as I would like to believe that the Saudi government would be responsive to market polling on such topics, I think it is perfectly ludicrous and absurd to suggest that these constituted the motivation (or even a part of the motivation) to give women the right to vote in Saudi Arabia. Come on! Don’t trivialize the movement for women’s rights or the sustainability movement in this way.

  5. Walter says:

    @Mosab – Join the real world. A woman was sentanced today to ten lashes for driving a car.–saudi-woman-sentenced-to-10-lashes-for-defying-ban-on-driving-a-car?bn=1

  6. Andy Alberta says:

    Wow…couldn’t even make it thru the 1st paragraph of this claptrap. Yes, women were given right to vote- in meaningless local elections that only 20-some percent bothered to show up for. FYI they still can’t DRIVE THEMSELVES TO THE POLLS, that requires a man.

    The ethical oil movement has more legs to stand on than a caterpillar.

  7. Mosab says:

    Walter the only correct thing you said about Saudi Arabia was the can’t drive thing all other things were true in the 60s and the 70s but not anymore.

    We have crime investigation labs we have Doctors who run rape tests Women’s testimony have been equal to man’s for some years now. And my Mom goes to work as a surgeon in the Hospital she works in all by herself no need for permission or any of that crab.

    Walter you are the one who should do some real searching instead of Googling propaganda.

  8. Walter says:

    Susan, Saudi Arabia ranks as one of the worst countries in the world for women’s rights. Women cannot drive, they cannot leave the house without permission. Their testimony counts for a fourth of a man’s. In Saudi if a woman is raped, she needs the testimony of 4 men to prove she was raped. If she doesn’t have 4 male witnesses, SHE is guilty of a sexual infidelity crime and can be punished, often brutally.
    Susan, you are so blinded by your hate of the oilsands that you would happily turn a blind eye to the suffering of millions. I hope you do some soul searching and think about the implications of your writings. This is no win for the green cause, this is a meaningless gesture by a brutal and vicious despot that will perpetuate the subjugation of women.

Comments are closed.