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Saudi Arabia launches girls' council, without the girls

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia launches girls' council, without the girls

Feminists would have likely given full marks for theory, but zero for practice.

When the Qassim Girls Council was launched on Saturday in ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia there would have been enthusiastic mummerings.

But any optimism would have quickly evaporated when they saw pictures from the event: 13 men on stage and not a single female.

While women were reportedly in another room, linked via video, the damage had been done as news quickly went viral online.

The launch comes at a time when reforms are slowly affecting women’s lives in one of the world’s most gender-segregated countries – where women live under the supervision of a male guardian and cannot drive.

Women can now sit on the government’s advisory Shura Council, vote in municipal elections and work in some retail and hospitality jobs with the government’s Vision 2030 trying to diversify the oil-reliant economy by boosting female employment.