Ah, even Saudi Arabia can’t escape the glorious rising sun of modernity, eh? Well, maybe. The headline may be misleading. “87 Percent Saudis Back Women’s Participation in Elections,” from Arab News, with thanks to JJP Mackie and RB:
JEDDAH, 16 March 2005 – A survey conducted by an independent agency in Jeddah showed 87 percent Saudis backing women’s participation in elections. It also reflected the greater role of media in educating the public on the polls.
“Eighty-seven percent of 240 Saudis who took part in the survey called for women’s participation in the next round of elections,” said Dr. Muhammad Fashetan, chairman of the SAS Center for Opinion Survey and Consultancy in Jeddah.
He said the survey’s participants included 50 teachers, 20 businessmen, six university students, 40 government employees, 20 retired military officers, 20 media persons and 30 retired civilian officials.
Some women were actually happy to hear the survey report, no matter how small the number polled was. For them it indicated that there is a change in the way people perceive the matter and some saw it as a result of the media’s influence. But a considerable number of women also expressed their doubts on the credibility of the poll.
Nawal Hamed, a physician, said that the number mentioned in the survey, carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, is not representative of the Saudi population. “I have my doubts on the significance of this number and I think the people polled belong to a certain educated class, that is why they seem supportive of women voting.”…