shura-councilSaudi Arabia’s King Abdullah on Friday appointed 30 women to the Shura Council, the first time women have been chosen for the country’s top consultative body.

Official SPA news agency reported that King Abdullah issued a decree that the 150-member council be composed of at least 20% women.

The King ordered that the term of the council members be four years, beginning after the current term ends.

The move was made “after consultations with a large number of distinguished scholars from the High Council of Scholars and others” , according to SPA.

The women members, who “will have full membership rights,” are to be committed to the principles of the Sharia law and must “observe the proper veil (hijab)”.

Gender segregation shall be ensured with males and females entering and exiting through their own doors, having separate offices and sitting and praying separately.

The kingdom has been moving toward change under Abdullah, who became king in 2005. In 2009, he appointed Saudi Arabia’s first female deputy minister; in 2011, he announced that women can run for office and vote in local elections in 2015.