Women, Diversity and Jails

A member of Shoura Council said that he would like to see a woman minister in the government. Khalil al-Khalil also said he would like to see women work “side by side” with men in the Shoura Council.

Al-Khalil was speaking during a discussion panel on diversity in the Saudi society which took place this Saturday at King Saud University, where he was supposed to be joined by his fellow Shoura member Abdullah Dahlan. The latter, however, was a no-show. The discussion panel was typical of events at KSU. It started 30 minutes late and the attendance was low. The speaker’s talk was too general and he admitted later that he shied away from tackling specifics to avoid controversy.

Al-Khalil said we should not be afraid of diversity because it is “not a Western invention,” and because even the most powerful governments cannot erase it. That’s why we should protect diversity by legislation, he added.

I agree with him when he says that the government needs to step up and take its responsibilities on this crucial matter, and I think that they have failed to do so in the past. He claims that the government has a clear policy when it comes to religious diversity that is based on justice but I really don’t know what clear policy he is talking about.

Al-Khalil, who heads the security committee at Shoura, ended his remarks by saying that if we want to promote diversity then we need to build more universities, not jails. Well, it is a very interesting thing to say considering that the government just announced last year they will spend SR1.7bn ($450mn) to build five new high-tech jails around the country. Not that he and his colleagues could have done anything about it but…

6 thoughts on “Women, Diversity and Jails

  1. It always irks me when a government announces budgets to improve effect-management rather than the causes.

    If the Saudi government can spend SR1.7bn on building jails, why can’t they spend half as much on R&D to prevent those people from going to jail in the first place?

    Or have they already?

  2. There does seem to be facts to his statement that “He claims that the government has a clear policy when it comes to religious diversity ”

    Regrettably that clear policy is generally to forbid all such religious diversity.

  3. Didn’t they say something like they were spending 400 million on education this year?

    And they’re spending 1.7bn on jails……

    Nuff said.

  4. These numbers scare me especially when it comes to economics, health affairs and education. I have been seeing such huge budgets but I have not touched accomplishments of any sort on reality. Has anybody heard of some terms used like corrupt***.

  5. I am a University Student in US taking a gender studies in the middle east class and I was intrigued by this particular blog as it relates to women. Your blogs refers to there being no women ministers in the government in Saudi Arabia but are there other high positions in the government that women currently hold? If so what are they? I also am interested if their are a lot of other men like you who support women rights and equality in Saudi Arabia?

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