King Abdullah appoints a woman to council of ministers

Rick Moran
Every revolution begins with a first shot. His Royal Highness, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, may have just pulled the trigger:

Saudi King Abdullah has appointed a woman to the council of ministers for the first time as part of a Cabinet reshuffle, networks including Saudi state-run Channel One reported Saturday.
King Abdullah announced a new supreme court chief, minister of health, justice minister and information minister as part of the reshuffling, according to Channel One.

King Abdullah appointed Noor Al-Fayez to the Saudi Council of Ministers. She will serve in a new position as deputy minister for women's education.

"People are very excited about this," said Khaled Al-Maeena, editor-in-chief of Arab News, an English-language daily newspaper in Saudi Arabia. "This sends a clear signal that the King means business. Instead of appointing some bureaucrat, he appointed a woman."

Jamal Khashoggi, editor-in-chief of Al-Watan Daily newspaper, told CNN the reshuffle signals a major change in his country.

This is a country that almost tore itself apart debating whether women should be eligible for driver's licenses (they ended up rejecting the idea) so, in context, this is a major step in the right direction.

But friends, this is like taking the first step on a hike to the moon. It is still, at this point, not how far Saudi Arabia has come but how far it has to go that should concern us. Reform is inevitable but how it comes about is the key. There are no Elizabeth Cady Stanton's or Bella Abzug's in Saudi Arabia that is going to hurry this process along. Only when women are free to demand equality will the ball start rolling in that direction.

As it stands now, women are dependent on men for whatever scraps they throw their way. That's a far cry from being able to agitate for justice and equality without fear of stoning or getting whipped, much less treated as human beings and not property.




Every revolution begins with a first shot. His Royal Highness, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, may have just pulled the trigger:

Saudi King Abdullah has appointed a woman to the council of ministers for the first time as part of a Cabinet reshuffle, networks including Saudi state-run Channel One reported Saturday.

King Abdullah announced a new supreme court chief, minister of health, justice minister and information minister as part of the reshuffling, according to Channel One.

King Abdullah appointed Noor Al-Fayez to the Saudi Council of Ministers. She will serve in a new position as deputy minister for women's education.

"People are very excited about this," said Khaled Al-Maeena, editor-in-chief of Arab News, an English-language daily newspaper in Saudi Arabia. "This sends a clear signal that the King means business. Instead of appointing some bureaucrat, he appointed a woman."

Jamal Khashoggi, editor-in-chief of Al-Watan Daily newspaper, told CNN the reshuffle signals a major change in his country.

This is a country that almost tore itself apart debating whether women should be eligible for driver's licenses (they ended up rejecting the idea) so, in context, this is a major step in the right direction.

But friends, this is like taking the first step on a hike to the moon. It is still, at this point, not how far Saudi Arabia has come but how far it has to go that should concern us. Reform is inevitable but how it comes about is the key. There are no Elizabeth Cady Stanton's or Bella Abzug's in Saudi Arabia that is going to hurry this process along. Only when women are free to demand equality will the ball start rolling in that direction.

As it stands now, women are dependent on men for whatever scraps they throw their way. That's a far cry from being able to agitate for justice and equality without fear of stoning or getting whipped, much less treated as human beings and not property.