Saudi Arabia appears to be working towards gender equality. The country, which denies women rights, has now launched its first ever Girls’ Council, according to posts from a meeting held recently. However, what may look like a promising step to you could be a disaster as the recently released pictures show that among the 13 people on stage, not a single woman was included.

While the governor of Qassim province’s intention is to provide more opportunities for women and to them access to a larger path where they can voice their concerns or opinions, it failed to bring out the right message by not including women in the Girls’ Council.

Women’s rights are still a controversial factor here but where are the women governors? Surely this new change aims to encourage girls and women but are you sure this is a good message to convey?

READ: Saudi Arabia watches first film on a woman, by a woman

Here’s the answer. You wouldn’t like it though! In Saudi Arabia, unrelated men and women are not allowed to mix together in a room (a strictly enforced state policy). So the various videos posted later showed us that the women members were in a different room.

So, what is the conclusion? Prince Faisal bin Mishaal bin Saud, the governor of Qassim province, founded an all-men “girls council” and let’s cheer on for them! “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,” he said in his speech to launch the council, according to the BBC.

Also Read: Saudi Arabia Celebrates Its First Women’s Day Even his wife, Princess Abir bint Salman, who is also head of the council, couldn’t be in the photos beside her husband because there are certain norms that stop her from doing so!

The country consistently ranks near the bottom of global surveys on gender rights and where women’s independence is considered as a secondary topic.

READ: Saudi Arabia Opens Doors To Women-Only Gyms

In fact, the kingdom has separate entries for men and women at most public places like parks, beaches, public transportation, banks, offices and universities. If unrelated men and women are seen together, they are likely to face criminal charges but women would face a lot worse specially.

But overall, the country aims to increase women’s participation in the workforce from 22% to 30% as per its Vision 2030 programme. The ultimate goal is to bring about change in the kingdom. If that’s the vision, we believe you!

Also Read: Creating ‘inclusive’ fitness fashion: Arshiya Kherani of Sukoon

Feature Image Credit: Stuff.co.nz

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