RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Saudi Arabia's king granted women seats on the country's top advisory council for the first time on Friday, giving them a long-awaited toehold in the ultraconservative kingdom's male-dominated political system.
King Abdullah's decrees come against the backdrop of heavy restrictions on women, who are not allowed to travel, work, study abroad, marry, get divorced or gain admittance to a public hospital without permission from a male guardian. Recently, airport authorities were instructed to send text messages to thephones of male guardians - husbands, fathers or brothers - with information about the movements of their wives, daughters or sisters.
The nation's official news agency said the king issued two royal decrees granting women 30 seats on the Shura Council, which has 150 members plus a president. The council reviews laws and questions ministers, but does not have legislative powers. All members are appointed by the king and serve four-year terms.
Looks like he is just giving lip service to women.