Shoura votes down proposal to increase women in city councils

The Shoura Council voted down the proposal for raising the number of women members in municipality councils by just five votes.

By Fatima Al-Dibais

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

By just five votes, the Shoura Council on Tuesday rejected a draft proposal to increase the number of women members of the municipal councils to about 30 percent of the members appointed by the Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs.

Noura Al-Masad, one of the four women members who tabled the proposal, said 71 council members voted in favor of the proposal but it failed short of securing the majority of the required 76 votes by five votes only.

The Shoura Council has 150 members including 30 women. For a proposal to be approved by the council, it has to get the backing of a minimum of 76 members.

Al-Masad considered the result to be good because the proposal was supported by a big number of members though it failed short of securing the required majority.

Al-Masad pointed out that after the council's rejection, the proposal could not be made again before two years. She hoped that the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs would take the proposal as an idea to work on.

Lina Almaeena, another Shoura member, was surprised why their proposal failed and asked what justifications did the opponents have to stand against the increasing of women members in the municipal councils?

Almaeena said out of 284 municipal councils, women are only represented in 10. She said there are 19 women who won their seats in the municipal elections and 15 appointed by the minister. The appointed female councilors constitute only 1 percent of the total number of appointees. Out of a total 3,156 male councilors, 1,052 are appointed.