Women members of the Shoura Council will set up a special committee to protect the rights of women, said Dr. Nuhad Al-Jishi, a member of the consultative body.
“Women members will be appointed in all the 13 subsidiary committees of the Shoura and we’ll set up a new committee to protect women’s rights if it was required,” she said.
However, she pointed out that the creation of such committees would depend on the Shoura’s rules and regulations.
“There is a committee for human rights and another one for social affairs at the Shoura. If the heads of these committees want to set up their women branches, they have the right to do so in accordance with Shoura regulations,” she pointed out.
Speaking at a meeting of businesswomen at Asharqia Chamber in Dammam, she said a proposal has been made to set a commission for women’s rights, adding that the concerned authorities are studying it.
“I have an intention to join the transport committee at the Shoura considering its importance. Lack of transport facilities is one of the biggest problems facing women in the Kingdom,” she pointed out.
Al-Jishi said she has interests in three Shoura committees related to health, social affairs and transport. “Women’s driving is an important issue because there is a lack of public transport facilities for women and many women cannot afford to have a driver,” Al-Eqtisadiah Arabic daily quoted Al-Jishi as saying.
She stressed the need for taking adequate measures to reduce growing number of road accidents in the Kingdom.
“The membership of women in the Shoura will not make any change in its systems. However, women can play an important role in the decision-making process,” he said.
King Abdullah, when he issued a royal decree appointing 30 women to the Shoura, had instructed authorities to include women in all its subsidiary committees.
“This means women will have an equal role in the Shoura like their male counterparts while discussing matters related to domestic and foreign policies,” Al-Jishi said.
She said the participation of women in the Shoura would improve their image. “Earlier while women were working as consultants in the Shoura, they were not having the right to vote on decisions,” she pointed out.
“Now things have changed. She has become an influential member of the Shoura.”
In a previous statement, Dr. Thuraya Obaid, another female member, said women should work hard to prove their capabilities.
Obaid said that all the women appointees are highly educated and have represented the country internationally.
“It is a step forward for women and the whole country. We were hoping for this. King Abdullah has always had a vision for the role of women and their presence in important positions, especially on the Shoura Council. I think it is also very important on the international level; Saudi Arabia can say to the world that it has women serving in advisory positions that have links to decision makers in the country.”
Obaid has served as executive director of the United Nations Population Fund and an under-secretary general of the United Nations from 2000 to 2010.