The Lack of Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is a monarchy that strictly obliges their citizens to comply with the constitution, with the laws of Islam as its foundation. However, the laws in Saudi Arabia were created in accordance to how the kingdom’s councils’ interpreted the Qur’an, Islam’s holy book. According to the council, equality between women and men is against the laws of God and the law of nature dictated by women’s physiology. These beliefs positioned women in Saudi Arabia subservient to men as restrictions are strictly applied on their way of living. Women in the kingdom live under constant legal and cultural prohibitions, whether in the family or outside their homes. Some of these are the requirement to veil women, the inferior education provided to women, and the lack of freedom of movement. According to Laura Kaya in Polygamy and Law in Contemporary Saudi Arabia, in order to keep modesty for both women and men, women were required to veil themselves (698). It is said that the concept of veiling does not only protect women’s modesty by being able to reserve their physical appearance solely for their spouse, but it also protects men’s modesty by keeping their minds off impure and lustful thoughts. Women are required to cover their bodies with an abaya, a black and loose cloak that covers the woman’s body from the neck all the way to the feet. In addition to covering their bodies, they are also to cover their hair with head coverings known as the hijab. In exchange of the belief of keeping modesty by covering the body, women did not have the freedom to be clothed the way they wanted. The concept of veiling may not be perceived as oppressive in itself. If it was legitimately for the purpose of being modest, which is required in the Qur’an, it would merely be an acceptable, cultural norm. However, the problem arises when veiling is forced on women with regimental inflexibility. Sifa Mtango states in A...
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