You have to start somewhere

I know I can be a bit hard on the Saudis, what with all the authoritarianism, and the corruption, and the extremism, and the regional destabilization, and the support for bad actors, and the human rights violations, and the…well, we’re getting off the point. It’s only fair that I note a case where they’re trying to do something right:

Saudi voters elected 20 women for local government seats, according to results released to The Associated Press on Sunday, a day after women voted and ran in elections for the first time in the country’s history.

The women who won hail from vastly different parts of the country, ranging from Saudi Arabia’s largest city to a small village near Islam’s holiest site.

These were elections to Saudi Arabia’s various local municipal councils, which don’t have any authority beyond the “garbage collection and street sweeping” level, but are the only offices that are filled by election in the kingdom. And while 20 women is less than 1% of the 2100 total seats on those councils (and less than 2% of the seats that are eligible for election; the king fills half of the council seats by appointment), every great society change had to start somewhere, didn’t it? Hopefully the women who were elected yesterday are just the first of many more to come.

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