Gender Quotas Database

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Saudi Arabia (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)

Saudi Arabia (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) has a Unicameral parliament with legislated quotas for the single/lower house and at the sub-national level. 30 of 151 (20%) seats in the Majlis Ash-Shura / Consultative Council are held by women.

At a glance

Structure of Parliament: Unicameral

Are there legislated quotas...

  • For the Single/Lower House? Yes
  • For the Sub-National Level? Yes

Are there voluntary quotas...

  • Adopted by political parties?

Is there additional information?...

  • Yes

Last updated: Apr 8, 2019

Single/Lower House

Majlis Ash-Shura / Consultative Council

Total seats 151
Total Women 30
% Women 20%
Election Year 2016
Electoral System No direct elections
Quota Type Reserved seats
Election details IDEA Voter Turnout - IPU Parline
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Reserved seats Constitution A January 2011 Royal Order amended the composition of the previously all-male 150-member Consultative Council by reserving 20% of its seats for women members.
Legal sanctions for non-compliance N/A Not applicable
Rank order/placement rules N/A Not applicable
Is the provision of direct public funding to political parties related to gender equality among candidates? No data available
Are there provisions for other financial advantages to encourage gender equality in political parties? No data available

Quota at the Sub-National Level

  • Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas Electoral law For the first time in the history of Saudi Arabia, women gained the right to contest seats and participate as voters in municipal elections of 2015. While marking a significant opening for women to gain more active role in public affairs, the decree clarifying the rules of municipal elections did not allow women candidates to publish their pictures in election campaign materials, justifying the move to be in line with the principles of Saudi society.
Legal sanctions for non-compliance
Rank order/placement rules No data available

Additional Information

Saudi Arabia has no provision for direct elections at a national level, while in 2005 a limited number of advisory councils at the sub-national level introduced directly-elected seats for the first time. The Consultative Council is an advisory body, which is appointed by the King for a term of four years, whereby members are chosen from among scholars, those of knowledge, expertise and specialists’ (Shura Council Law, Royal Decree No. A/91, 1 March 1992).

Before the introduction of the Royal Order stipulating a 20 % quota for women, the Shura Council was always an all-male body. For the first time in the history of Saudi Arabia, women gained the right to contest seats and participate as voters in municipal elections of 2015. While marking a significant opening for women to gain more active role in public affairs, the decree clarifying the rules of municipal elections did not allow women candidates to publish their pictures in election campaign materials, justifying the move to be in line with the principles of Saudi society.

Sources

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