Saudi Arabia Launches Girls’ Council – And Not One Female Was Present

A first-of-its-kind Girls Council was recently launched in al-Qassim province. One major detail was overlooked, however: the women.

Credit: Qassim Girls Council

Saudi Arabia has displayed somewhat of a recurring theme when it comes to hosting seemingly progressive events featuring women. In 2016, for example, the nation held a women’s right conference, and only men attended. Mere days ago, a girls’ council was launched and in a similar fashion, males were the main attendees.

BBC reports that the launching of the Qassim Girls Council in al-Qassim province was hailed an encouraging initiative, but one major detail was overlooked: the women. As it was, the first meeting was comprised entirely of men. Women, apparently, were allowed to watch the event from another room via video.

A photo from the event which was held on a Saturday shows thirteen men on a stage. It has since gone viral.

Prince Faisal bin Mishal bin Said, the province’s governor, was responsible for leading the initiative. He remains proud of the conference as it is the first of its kind in the kingdom. His wife, Princess Abir bint Salman, holds one of the chairs but was not present. Commenting on the Saudi launch, the Prince stated:

“In the Qassim region, we look at women as sisters to men, and we feel a responsibility to open up more and more opportunities that will serve the work of women and girls.”

While the development is a sign of positive change, one can’t ignore the irony of a country launching its first Girls Council and denying women entry to the main event. What are your thoughts?

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