CAIRO — A Saudi activist will stand trial for defying the kingdom’s ban on female drivers, a lawyer and rights advocates said Monday, revealing clear limits on how far the conservative Muslim land is willing to go to grant women greater rights.

Just a day earlier, King Abdullah, who is regarded as a reformer by Saudi standards, decreed that women would be allowed for the first time to vote and run as candidates in elections for municipal councils starting in 2015. He also promised to appoint women after two years to the Shura Council, the currently all-male consultative body with no legislative powers.

Activists in Saudi Arabia and abroad welcomed the changes as a step in the right direction, while urging the kingdom to end all discrimination against women. Some also pointed to the case against Najalaa Harriri as evidence of how far the kingdom still has to go on the path of reform.

“Saudi Arabia is moving far too slowly,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s deputy Middle East director. “Ultimately, it is no great achievement to be one of the last countries in the world to grant women the vote.”

Harriri was among the dozens of Saudi women to challenge the country’s longtime ban on driving in a campaign that began in June. In a nod to the power of social media, the campaigners posted video of themselves behind the wheel on the Web, drawing international attention at a time of great tumult across the Arab world.

She was summoned for questioning on Sunday by the prosecutor general in the western port city of Jeddah, according to attorney Waleed Aboul Khair. She will stand trial in a month, joining several other women currently on trial for driving.

Activists say the trials reveal a gap between the image the kingdom wants to show to the outside world and the reality in the ultraconservative nation.

“I believe that Saudi Arabia has always had two kinds of rhetoric, one for outside consumption to improve the image of the kingdom and a more restrictive one that accommodates the religious establishment inside,” Aboul Khair said.

In Saudi Arabia, no woman can travel, work, marry, get divorced, gain admittance to a public hospital or live independently without permission from a “mahram,” or male guardian. Men can beat women who don’t obey them, and fathers and brothers have the right to prevent a female relative from getting married if they don’t approve of her suitor.