Half of Saudis support women in Cabinet: poll

Survey finds 54% of Saudis support greater political involvement of women; 81% back women working from home

(AFP/Getty Images)

(AFP/Getty Images)

More than half of Saudis support women being appointed to the Cabinet, according to a new poll published by local media.

Four in five of the 3000 men and women surveyed also backed women working from home, while 51 percent said they should be appointed to help organise the annual Islamic pilgram, Haj.

The survey, conducted by the Khadija bint Khuwailed Center at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, found 54 percent of people support women being given greater political involvement by having positions in the Cabinet.

Women were given roles in the Shoura Council in 2012, but the body only has the power to advise the government.

Certain employment sectors also have been opened up to women in recent years.

Basma Omair, executive director of Khadija center, said the survey result reflected a major change in the attitude of people toward women.

Organization of Islamic Cooperation director of information department Maha Akeel said initiatives taken by King Abdullah in recent years had improved women’s empowerment and the public was increasinlgy supporting more opportunities for women.

“The survey result is a positive indication as more than half of the participants support appointment of women as ministers and I am sure it will happen eventually and will not take very long,” Akeel said.

“Women ministers will serve the whole society as the appointment will be made on the basis of merit and not gender.”

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