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Video: Saudi Arabia to allow women to vote in 2015

  1. Closed captioning of: Saudi Arabia to allow women to vote in 2015

    >>> overseas tonight there's pretty revolutionary news from saudi arabia . widely seen as one of the most repressive places on earth for women . they may be seeing the handwriting on the wall . women have been given the right to vote starting four years from now. our report tonight from stephanie gosk.

    >> reporter: it is the birth place of islam, and governed by one of the strictest interpretations of muslim law in the world. change in saudi arabia happened slowly, but it's happening. for the first time in this country's history, king abdullah has given women the right to vote and run for political office . women can't actually go to the polls until 2015 , and the elected council has little power over king abdullah . supporter of women 's rights say this is a significant step.

    >> it is seen as a real commitment in terms of leadership, to ensuring women 's power in the future.

    >> reporter: women in saudi arabia can't leave the house without being fully covered and accompanied by a male guardian, regardless of their age. they aren't even allowed to drive. dozens of saudi activists got behind the wheel last june. one of the organizers now faces a criminal trial. the driving law hasn't changed, but king abdullah seems to have gotten the message.

    >> the arab revolution, plus technological change , and women leaders fighting for their rights has all come together at a unique moment in time.

    >> reporter: the king has raised salaries for government workers, increased unemployment benefits and housing. now that women have a voice, the calls for more change may grow even louder. stephanie gosk, nbc news, london.

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