Maysa AlMani works for PwC in Dubai as a government consultant. But the 2014 graduate of Carey’s Global MBA program has also been active in her native Saudi Arabia fighting for the rights of women to vote and drive. Last December, Saudi Arabia held its first elections in which women could vote and run for spots on municipal councils.
More than 900 women registered as candidates, and one of them was AlMani. Though she wasn’t among the 20 women who won seats, she expressed happiness that women in her country can claim a role alongside men as government representatives.
“When women won, it shocked a lot of people in a good way, especially in underdeveloped areas,” AlMani said in an interview with the Washington, D.C.-based Arab Gulf States Institute after the election. “To have women winning there is huge. I think it gave people a reference: to say yes, we have women in Majlis as-Shura [a Saudi advisory body], we have women in in the Municipal Council, and hopefully we can have women as ministers and even judges. I love to see women in decision-making positions. Even if the municipality is a tiny entity, it is a body that makes decisions and is representative of people, men and women. Having women as part of these elections and winning already broke a lot of the stigma around women.”