Topic: Gender Inequality in the Middle East
Working Title: Oppression of Women in Saudi Arabia
2 critical readings:
“The Complexity of Identity: Who Am I?”, Beverly Tatum (1997) -
“The Politics of Recognition”, Charles Taylor (1994)
Despite the celebration of women climbing up the social hierarchy in our modern society, unequal treatment and oppression towards women still persist in Saudi Arabia largely due to the internalization of their position as subordinates and victims of a patriarchal society. 2 Examples:
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
The purpose of FGM is to curb the sexual desire of girls and women and preserve their "sexual honor" before marriage. This mutilation is irreversible and extremely painful, and usually done to young girls. b.
FGM is carried out with knives, scissors, scalpels, pieces of glass or razor blades. The mutilation is usually done without anesthetics. Instruments are usually not sterile. Mortality is high. c.
The practice has dreadful costs: many girls die afterwards, the survivors suffer their whole life from the psychological and medical consequences of the operation. All are traumatized and suffer from adverse health effects during marriage and pregnancy.
Biased Legalized Laws
At present, women throughout the region are regarded as second-class citizens, being denied their full legal identities by being excluded from the rights, privileges, and security that all citizens of any country should enjoy. Unjust laws, discriminatory constitutions, and biased mentalities that do not recognize women as equal citizens, violate women’s rights. i.
Women legally cannot drive motor vehicles and are restricted in their use of public facilities when men are present. ii.
Women are not admitted to a hospital for medical treatment without the consent of a male relative. iii.
Women may not undertake domestic or foreign travel alone. A Saudi man may prevent his wife and any child or unmarried adult...
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