Saudi Arabian women standing for election will not be allowed to publish photographs of themselves or address men directly at campaign meetings. The government has published the list of the women who are standing in the local council elections next month. Women will be voting for the first time after they were granted limited voting rights in 2011 by the late King Abudullah. More than a 1,000 women have applied to become candidates for the election. But the candidates themselves are not too optimistic about their chances; the kingdom’s tight laws govern the separation of the sexes and make it hard to campaign.
Loujain al-Hathloul, an activist running for a seat in Riaydh, said she was “not excited” about winning and just wanted to encourage more women to stand in elections.
The rules banning photographs apply to both men and women but activists say this puts women at a disadvantage because men have stronger work and social networks.