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?...
Last updated: May 30, 2021
Majlis Ash-Shura / Consultative Council
|Electoral System||No direct elections|
|Quota Type||Reserved seats|
|Election details||IDEA Voter Turnout - IPU Parline|
|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
|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|
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.
- Constitution of Saudi Arabia (English version)
- Shura Council Law, Royal Decree no. A/91
- Tait, R., ‘Saudi King Abdullah Appoints Women to Shura Council’, The Telegraph, 11 January 2013
- See the latest updates on Saudi Arabia on iKNOW Politics
- Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (2017). Saudi Arabia and political, economic and social development. [Report]