Challenges facing Saudi women’s first year at municipal council

Saudi women were waiting for December 2015 to enter for the first time the Municipal Council. Some 20 women are now participating in Municipal Council deliberations at different regions in Saudi Arabia while the total number of Municipal Council members exceeds 3,150. Though the women seats are yet few, their participation has come after a long journey, activists said.

‎‏Rasha Hifzi, an elected female in Jeddah Municipal Council, noted in her talk to Saudi Gazette that they had to make a way through to the council despite the intense competition. Now, however, they are hoping to find a common ground with the 30 members who share different ideologies and are coming from different backgrounds.

‎‏The Jeddah Municipal Council, she added, is now working on a four-year strategic plan that will develop the council and its works. Among the tough challenges that they face is that they are not a legislative body but they can only supervise other government bodies to meet the expectations of the public. Their supervision might not be welcomed by some government bodies and therefore they have to work towards forming a cohesive work partnership with government bodies.

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