A long road to equality for Saudi women

A long road to equality for Saudi women

By Anonymous

So, it’s the fifth day now that women in Saudi Arabia have been able to drive. Crown Prince what’s his name the son of the reigning King has been credited as the person behind the campaign to abolish the ban on women driving and so, as of the 24 June 2018, women in Saudi Arabia are now, shock horror, allowed to drive. Good on the Crown Prince. But while you are at it and you're lifting bans to enable women to do more, how about you focus on the following things that women still can't do. 

1.     Marry without permission- women need permission from their guardian and marrying a non-muslim almost impossible.

2.     Open a bank account without permission from a male guardian.

3.     Get a fair Trial- a women’s testimony is worth half that of a male’s in court, and her inheritance is half that of what her brothers would receive.

4.     Travel- women need permission to obtain a passport and generally are not ‘allowed’ to leave home alone

5.     Dress how they want- long coats must be worn at all times when women are in public

6.     Interact with men- time spent with men who are not family is limited and special sections are reserved for men only when in public.

7.     Seek important medical treatment- all medical treatment, even life-saving operations require the signature of a male guardian.

8.     Have custody of children until they reach the ages of seven for boys and nine for girls. Then custody reverts to the father. [1]

So I don’t know about you, but after reading the above list, being able to drive seems pretty far removed from say, oh I don’t know, being able to leave the house by myself, having custody of my children, marrying who I want irrespective of religion or race, having my testimony in court being worth as much as a males, dressing in clothes I choose to wear, having a chat or a discussion with a male friend or colleague in public or goodness gracious me, actually kissing my boyfriend in public and finally being able to actually seek medical treatment for me or my children without necessarily informing my husband or needing to obtain his permission to do so.

So all hail Crown Prince what's his name, but just remember the above list when we think of what has to be done and remember those three women's activists who fought so hard for women to obtain the right to drive and who are still behind bars. Let's not forget them. Saudi Arabia may have shown the world they are taking baby steps to make positive changes for women, but believe me, there is still a lot of work to be done until equality is obtained for women.

[1] Eight things women still can’t do in Saudi Arabia



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