Even as women in Saudi Arabia have been given the right to vote for the first time, there seems to be little enthusiasm among them to exercise their right as only a handful of women have registered as voters for the December civic polls so far. 

This is also the first time that women have the right to register to run for the municipal election as candidates. 

The registration for voters for the Saudi election began on 22 August, while that for candidates began on 30 August. 

Only 16 women registered as voters in the governorates of Farasan Island, Al-Darb and Dhamad in Saudi Arabia's Jazan region over the last week, Al Arabiya reported. 

Voter registration had begun in Madinah and Makkah (Mecca) a week earlier and Jamal Al-Saadi and Safinaz Abu Al-Shamat became the first women to register as voters in the kingdom after the 2011 order by late King Abdullah to allow women to participate in politics. 

King Abdullah had introduced municipal elections for the first time in the kingdom in 2005, when he was still a crown prince. 

A few women registered as voters in the Two Holy Cities as well, in a poor start to the historic opportunity given to the women of Saudi Arabia, who are otherwise denied several other rights.

Saudi women are barred from driving and also require permission from a male guardian to travel. 

According to local media, lack of awareness about the elections and their rights has kept most women away from registering thus far. 

It is not clear as to how many women have registered for contesting the election so far, but it is estimated that anywhere between 70 and 200 women are likely to register, going by local reports. 

Some women are demanding a quota to ensure at least some female candidates win municipal seats, citing the "lack of experience of Saudi women as voters and candidates in municipal elections", Gulf News reported. 

In fact, several female candidates are reportedly hiring PR firms and marketing agencies to boost their popularity ahead of the polls, Arab News reported. 

Registration of voters will continue till 14 September, while candidates can register till 17 September.