- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
Encouraging news from the kingdom:
An expert on girls’ education became Saudi Arabia’s first woman minister on Saturday as part of a wide-ranging cabinet reshuffle by King Abdullah that swept aside several bastions of ultra-conservatism.
Nora bint Abdullah al-Fayez, a US-educated former teacher, was made deputy education minister in charge of a new department for female students, a significant breakthrough in a country where women are not allowed to drive.
Abdullah also sacked the head of Saudi Arabia’s despicable Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, the religious police who once prevented a group of girls from escaping a school fire because they were improperly dressed. It’s about time. We can only hope the beatdowns will continue until the commission is dismantled entirely.