We can do it
In most of the western civilization, particularly the Americans had heard or seen this female wartime propaganda poster created by J. Miller. There is much in our art and literature that romanticizes girls and women and the role they play in our culture. Nowadays, there is around 3.3 billion female living in our world. Sadly, one in every three women worldwide are victims of sexual, physical, emotional, and other abuse during their lifetime. Being female often means being sentenced to a life of poverty, exploitation, and deprivation. Therefore there are around 1 billion abused women around the world every single year. Being an ambassador’s son, I believe it is the most fortunate and life-changing parents’ job that any kid could dream. I had the occasion to travel and live in lots of diverse places. Since I was seven years old I lived in eight different countries. My father was assigned to stay at a certain place for at least 6 months. During this time I would spend most of my time in a very rigorous and restricted international school for just diplomats’ children. The classes were taught in French and in English. Most of the time, I would be many days inside school without having any contact of the outside world. But in one trip, I had the opportunity to really have contact with the native people, see the true culture and the life style of the country. It was in 2007, when my father was assigned to manage the Brazilian Embassy in Riyadh, the largest and the capital city of Saudi Arabia. It is located slightly east of the center of the country in the heart of the Tuwaig long cliff. If you do not know a lot about Saudi Arabia here is some facts; Saudi Arabia is an exclusively Islamic (Muslim) kingdom and Islam governs nearly every aspect of life. The public practice of any form of religion other than Islam which is prohibited in Saudi Arabia. Mecca and Medina are the two holiest cities of Islam. It is strictly forbidden to all non-Muslims, access to the outskirts of Medina is allowed. The Saudis are dignified and hospitable people. Work and social life are strictly divided by sex. Outside the family circle the sexes do not mix at all.
I was told that Saudi Arabia would not be an easy country to live in. Despite aspiring to be a modern country and one of the richest countries in the world, Saudi Arabia still has one of the most traditional societies. As any Islamic country, cultural life in Saudi Arabia has to be in agreement with strict interpretations of the Quran. However, I was completely surprised to see how strict and intimidated Saudi Arabia could be for women. The civil rights for women in Saudi Arabia are very limited.
I remember that in my first day of class, I noticed that my math teacher Ms. Basha’ir was wearing an abaya (black cloak) and covering her entire body. Her dress style intrigued me and asked her why she had to wear that kind of clothes. She responded to me saying, “In Saudi Arabia all women are obliged to wear abaya for religion purpose”. From that point, I started to have this ambitious interest to know more about my teacher’s life and consequently the women rights in Saudi Arabia. Even though it was not appropriate and not legal to talk about her lifestyle, Ms. Basha’ir would sometime express, I would say, her unhappiness with her life. Women in Saudi Arabia have a very particular legal status I would say. It means that they have fewer rights than men in many respects and play a very limited role in public life in Saudi Arabia. On one occasion, Ms. Basha’ir complained how unfair it was to her have a male guardian that acts also as their legal representative. Therefore if Ms. Basha’ir wants to marry, open a bank account or travel she has to ask permission from her guardian first. And this applies for women of all ages. She kept saying “Saudi Arabia placed in 130th out of 134 countries for gender parity, and the only country to score a...