Why women and democracy still have a long way to go in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabians are voting in municipal elections Saturday, and for the first time in the country's history, women can vote and run for office. CBC's Brent Bambury spoke with a rights activist whose name was removed from the list of official candidates.

Saudi Women to vote and run for first time in nationwide municipal election

Prior to this week's election, women were not able to vote or run for political office in Saudi Arabia. (Hassan Ammar/Associated Press )

On Saturday, residents of Saudi Arabia will head to the municipal polls for an historic election. For the first time in the country's history, women are being allowed to vote and run for political office.

Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive or open a bank account and they are required to be covered head-to-toe in public. And while the right to vote and run for office might seem like a huge step forward for women, it isn't quite the breakthrough many were hoping.

Naseema Assada is a human rights activist in Qatif who has campaigned for women's rights in Saudi Arabia. She wanted to run in Saturday's election, but her name was removed from the list of official candidates after she registered. She speaks with host Brent Bambury about how much progress this election signals for women in Saudi Arabia. 

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