RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — A Saudi official said a screen will separate genders on the country’s main advisory body to King Abdullah when women join it for the first time.

Following a decision by Abdullah, women will be allowed to join the Shura Council, his main group of advisers expected to reconvene early next year. The format is seen as a compromise with hardline Islamic factions that oppose even small reforms in the ultraconservative kingdom, where sex segregation is a widespread custom.

Abdullah has pledged to allow women to vote and run in the next municipal elections in 2015.