Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia

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Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia

Being born and raised in America, I and many other Americans have been taught that we live in a country of freedom. Women and men are treated equally; every human being has rights, and you have the freedom to move at will and without restrictions. Women have come a long way in our country, gaining rights ever since the dawn of patriarchy and proving that they are just as good as men with the ability to think, speak, and act for themselves. However, discrimination of women still exists in America and many other countries, but women are taking a stand and trying to eliminate the inequality between genders, such as the difference in salaries, and the bad representation of and portrayal of women in the media. Women are even overcoming gender roles and in the household, especially recently due to the economy. We have seen husbands stay at home to take care of the kids and house while their wives go to work. Although America is not nearly free of discrimination, we are working to eliminate it. Other countries, especially in the Middle East, heavily oppress their women. The most recognized of them is Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is a Middle Eastern country which is home to the holy city of Mecca, where Muslims from all over the world go for pilgrimage. Saudi Arabia is a very religious country, and their laws are based on strict interpretations of the Koran. Gender roles in this society come from Islamic law. However, religious law and culture are two different things, and

the way women are oppressed in Saudi Arabia is a cultural habit. It is as if Saudi Arabia is still living in the past, and refuses to move forward with the rest of the world, making it a more enjoyable, safe, and comfortable place for women to live. Instead, it is a country where women live mostly restricted and segregated lives. Saudi Arabian women must be given more rights and freedom.

Men are more superior in Saudi Arabia and dominate over the women in almost every aspect of their lives. Saudi women are required to have permission from a male guardian wherever they go. Women must always have a male guardian, be it a husband or father that has duties to, and rights over the women. The male guardian must give women written permission over virtually every decision she makes. This includes needing permission for marriage, divorce, travel, education, and employment (Perpetual Minors, 3). Even when permission from a male guardian is not needed or required under law or government guidelines, officials will still ask for it. This law insinuates that women are incapable of making decisions for themselves, treating them like children. The Koran clearly states that men and women are equal. They will both be rewarded for righteous deeds and punished for sin. As stated in the Holy Koran: “Their Lord responded to them: ‘I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you male or female, you are equal to one another’” (Koran 3:195). It is questionable why Saudi Arabia, a country ruled by Islamic law, can’t see that women and men are created equal, as stated in their Holy Book. Women have traditionally been viewed as caregivers in most societies. They are fragile, feminine, soft-spoken, sweet, caring, loving, tender, gentle, and maternal. They cook, clean, and take care of the children by tradition, but this image of women has changed

worldwide. They are doctors, lawyers, teachers, businesswomen, and it is incredible that the treatment of Saudi women is happening in the 21st century; it seems a bit more like medieval times. Saudi Arabia continues to move backwards and treat women with no respect or worth.

Saudi women are forced to wear a black cloak and head covering in public and around men whom they are not related to. The cloak is called an abaya, and the head covering is called a hijab. The hijab is very much encouraged in Islam to show faith and modesty, but it is the woman‘s decision when she is ready and...
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