The UN Just Elected Saudi Arabia To The Women's Right Commission And No, It's Not A Joke

The UN just invited Saudi Arabia to join the Women's Right Commission, despite the fact it's been ranked as the 141th most unequal country in the world.

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Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are prohibited from driving; this ban not only precludes women from contributing fully to the society they live in, but arguably sends a clear message about the country's views on gender equality.

This argument is supported by the World Economic Forum who places Saudi Arabia at the 141th most unequal country in the world for women, out of 144 countries that were ranked (there are 195 countries in the world).

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Though certain steps have recently been taken to help close the gender equality gap, for example women finally being granted the right to vote in municipal elections in 2015, they're still under male guardianship, effectively giving them the legal power of a minor.

Despite all of this, the UN just announced the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will now join 45 other countries to form part of the organisation's women's rights commission 'promoting women's rights, documenting the reality of women's lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.'

Director of UN Watch, Hillel Neuer, has been particularly vocal in his opposition to the idea.

According to the Independent, he says: 'Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women's rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief...It's absurd.'

And it turns out Neuer isn't the only one who thinks this way. As ever, the people of Twitter have had their say on the matter:

It is yet (and perhaps will always be) unclear as to which countries voted for Saudi Arabia's new position and why.

However, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and administrator of the UN Development Programme, Helen Clark, has shared her two cents on why she thinks the country might have been elected.

'It's important to support those in the country who are working for change for women. Things are changing, but slowly,' she reportedly said.

We only hope Saudi Arabia's new role in the UN women's rights commission might enable the country to change it's ways and learn the importance of gender equality, once and for all.

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