IMF Head: Saudi King ‘Advocate of Women’

The woman leading the International Monetary Fund is catching hell for calling Saudi Arabia’s deceased king a “strong advocate of women,” given the kingdom’s ban on women drivers, gender segregation, and summary beheading of female criminals. “In a very discreet way, he was a strong advocate of women,” Christine Lagarde said. “It was very gradual, appropriately so probably for the country. I discussed that issue with him several times and he was a strong believer.” Human Rights Watch disagrees. “King Abdullah came to power promising reforms, but his agenda fell far short of achieving lasting institutional gains for Saudi citizens,” said Joe Stork, HRW’s Middle East director. “King Salman, the new ruler, should move the country forward by ending intolerance for free expression, rooting out gender and sectarian discrimination, and fostering a fair and impartial judicial system.”