The law itself, however, won't be effective until the next election cycle in 2015. Although the Saudi elections were held on Thursday, September 29th, the king declared that since the campaign was almost over, women could participate in elections "as of the next session."
Saudi Arabia practices a strict section of Islamic law that requires women to be accompanied by a male guardian to almost every public activity. Getting married, getting divorced, traveling, going to school, getting a job, opening a bank account, and getting elective surgery all requires permission from the male guardian. Women also must cover their bodies in traditional loose, black cloaks called "abaya," and veils called "hijab." They are also segregated from men during many times of the day in many public places. They also aren't allowed to operate a vehicle.
The passing of this law is a monumental step for the liberation of Saudi women. Although many political activists celebrated it, they still remained skeptical. Many women wondered how they could run for office if they still couldn't drive, or open a bank account.
Many women believe that this new law also brings new hope, and new ways to gain more rights.
“It is a good sign, and we have to take advantage of it,” said Maha al-Qahtani, one of many female activists in Saudi Arabia who defied the ban on driving, when asked of the king's announcement. “But we still need more rights."