Women's Suffrage in Saudi Arabia
In general, women’s rights in Saudi Arabia are not equal to men’s rights. Saudi Arabia is the only country in which women cannot drive and a woman's male "guardian", usually a father, husband, brother or son, can stop her from traveling overseas, marrying, working, studying or having some forms of elective surgery (surgery that is scheduled in advance because it does not involve a medical emergency).
But until recently only men were allowed to vote - women only received the right to vote in January 2015, after King Abdullah announced in 2011 against the judgement of the Grand Mufti (the most senior religious figure in SA) that steps will be taken for women to have a bigger public role, sending more of them to university and encouraging female employment. But the gap is still huge- last election, only 130,000 women voted, while 1.35 million men voted; A total of only 978 women have registered as candidates for different municipal positions versus 5,938 men.
While women's suffrage has in many other countries been a transformative moment in the quest for gender equality, its impact in Saudi Arabia is likely to be more limited due to a wider lack of democracy and strong social conservatism.