Women win seats in the Saudi Arabia election for the first time in history

Ellen Stewart
Sunday 13 December 2015 10:00

UPDATE: At least five women have now claimed seats in Saudi Arabia's municipal polls.

A woman has won a seat for the first time in history in the Saudi Arabia election.

According to the electoral commission, Salma bint Hizab al-Oteibi won a seat on Mecca's council of Madrakah on Saturday, where she was running against seven men and two other women.

The election was the first where women were permitted to vote and stand as candidates.

While more than 900 of the 6,440 candidates were women, they were not allowed to directly meet any male voters during their campaigns, as women are not allowed to speak to men outside their family in public.

Her victory may seem even more impressive considering only 1.3million of Saudi Arabia's 20million citizens are registered to vote, and voting requires ID cards.

Human Rights Watch says that since women need to be accompanied by a man to go register for these, it is unclear how many female citizens actually possess them.

On top of this women were not allowed to drive to polling stations and out of 1,263 polling stations in the country, just 424 were been reserved for women's use.

H/T Guardian

More: While women can vote in Saudi Arabia for the first time here's a reminder of all the things they still can't do