Norah Al-Fayez,the first woman to be named to a ministerial post in Saudi Arabia,has put a crack in the thick glass ceiling that the countrys strict version of Islam sets against women. The veteran education administrator was named to the post of deputy education minister for womens education as part of a sweeping shakeup of the government announced Saturday by the countrys reform-minded monarch King Abdullah.
Saudis cheered King Abdullahs shakeup as a bold step forward. This is a successful step. Weve suffered from having a man occupy the position overseeing womens education, an English-language Arab News newspaper quoted her as saying.
Saudi Arabias Wahhabi school of Islam imposes a separation of unrelated members of the opposite sexes,forces women to be shrouded in burqa from head to toe,bans them from driving,keeps them dependent on male guardians.
In major changes that targetted conservative religious clerics,King Abdullah replaced Supreme Judicial Council head Sheikh Saleh al-Luhaidan.