Women were previously forbidden from voting or being elected to political office, but King Abdullah declared that women will be able to vote and run in the 2015 local elections, as well as be appointed to the Consultative Assembly. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that prohibits women from driving. The World Economic Forum 2009 Global Gender Gap Report ranked Saudi Arabia 130th out of 134 countries for gender parity. It was the only country to score a zero in the category of political empowerment. The report also noted that Saudi Arabia is one of the few Middle Eastern countries to improve from 2008, with small gains in economic opportunity.
Saudi women constitute 17% of the country's native workforce.