Women in Saudi Arabia

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Updated: Mar 14, 2023
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Women have always had limits to what they’ve been able to do since the beginning of life. Saudi Arabia’s women still have more limits compared to many other countries around the world.

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It would be revolutionary to these women if they were able to have more freedom. Having more rights would increase self esteem and efficacy, bring more job opportunities and keep a safe environment for everyone to live in. Although women in Saudi Arabia have more opportunity than ever before, there are still plenty of limits held against them that need to change to bring gender equality closer together around the world.

Life for Saudi Arabia has been different from its history for the past 40 years. According to the article Iraq’s Pragmatism: Between Iran’s Sanctions and Saudi Grand Designs by Abás Tanus Mafud states, “After the end of the Iran-Iraq War, relations between both were maintained in a latent warlike state.” Iran and Iraq had many conflicts about oil politics. Saddam Hussein joined United States, which helped Tehran with the possibility of finding peace with Iraqi Shia political communities but that doesn’t guarantee a better life for its women.

In fact, these recent politics have distracted the Saudi Arabia government from dealing with other issues. Before oil became a big issue for these counties, women were aloud to perform on television and even play instruments. Oil changed the influence of the performance industry after a religious outbreaks due to fear of Nasserite tide. Two weeks after the first outbreak, women were no longer able to perform. Later on, the Saudi Sahwa movement caused a war between year 1980 to 2000 against artist. People began to have more prohibitions as time went by until eventually darkness took over.

Women are no longer free to make their own decisions, they must have a male family member give them permission to even leave the house. It is known as the Male Guardianship law. Women are considered legal minors and need permission to travel, get married, go to the doctors, along with many other rules they must follow.

According to It’s high time to hold Saudi Arabia to account on women’s rights by by Taif Al Khudari & Catherine Anderson explains, “ In Saudi Arabia, many women and girls remain trapped in abusive environments, unable to seek protection without the consent of a male relative.” The United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva has been pledging for the Saudi Arabia government to abolish this law. They have pledged for this change twice within six years and still have not been able to get the law abolished.

Many counties have stepped in to help abolish the Male Guardianship Law along with many women activist who have been trying to get their voices heard by their government. Taif Al Khudary and Catherine Anderson state “However, the majority of the activists who campaigned tirelessly on this issue are now in prison, simply because they called for more substantive reforms, including an end to the male guardianship system.”

These women have been arrested and charged with crimes that actually disregard the law of freedom to expression. The jailed women were refused access to lawyers and told they would be tried before Saudi Arabia’s terrorist court. These women can face up to five years in prison just for exercising their right to expression their opinion.

Women have been asking for more freedom and after a long wait, the ban on driving has finally been removed. This ban removal has brought hope to all women for justice. Stephanie Nebehay writer of Saudi Arabia must ban discrimination against women: U.N. rights panel states “I am positive that once this is done, it will open the gates for leverage for removal of other restrictions”.

Many women believe that they are one step closer to being able to have more rights and be closer to equality. Since the announcement of the ban more women have launched businesses and spoke out about their unfair issues such as child marriages, forced marriages and the compulsory dress code for women. The ban lift has caused laws and rules to be changed that way religion and trationons don’t get in the way of women being able to interact with the economic roles out there.

Although there have been some changes to the rules and laws since the ban on driving was lifted, there have been a lot of incidents that have happened as well. Many females still are unable to drive because their guardian does not grant them permission to do so. If they were to be injured and need to go to the hospital, they wouldn’t be able to go or go alone unless they have permission.

Many also do not have enough money to be able to afford the transportation fees. They do not believe the lift is helpful at all because there are still many restrictions that need to be changed such as hunger and the guardianship. Women who are able to drive have been stopped by authority and taken to jail. Many of these women have claimed to not have done anything wrong and that the authorities refused to explain what they had done wrong. The news is also bais and only shows the good side of the ban but has not reported of the incidents with the women.

Saudi Arabian women have begun to fight against many rules. One of the most common one that women have been doing is changing the traditional dress code colors. Although the law doesn’t necessarily prohibit wearing colorful hijabs it is frowned upon. How many more women have joined together to change the limits by wearing many different color jajabis instead of the traditional black ones.

These small changes happened because the the religion police have been more lenient than ever before. More people have been so impressed that they are no longer worried about politic issues. Women are now able to open up and run their own businesses without having any problems. Even the bastion of conservatism, had his mother go to the market to sell her products on her own. These small changes more a big difference through the country.

Even with the changes to allow different dress codes, there are still many issues because of it. Many females have experienced hate when they go out in public for wearing any other other than black. For example a women decided to leave her house wearing a light grey hijab. As she walked around feeling like herself more than ever she was stopped and by the religious police. They accused her of shaming her honor and forced her to go home.

ISIS suicide bombers started disguising themselves as women to target mosques which also affects women more.It’s difficult for women to speak up about these topics because freedom of press is restricted and political views are limited as well. Along with dress code, women also must stay three feet away from men and must enter through a separate place.

Saudi Arabia is known for having strict rules, but they also don’t follow all rules that allow women to do more than what most men actually want in their community. Many activist are silenced to keep them from exposing this truth. These restrictions on women keep the country ranked 138 of 144 of the worst conditions for women. Article Equality Reserved: Saudi Arabia and the Convention to End All Discrimination against Women By Paul Hanley Notifies readers, “Saudi Arabia ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 2001.

The Convention obligates Saudi Arabia “to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating discrimination against women…”. Even though CEDAW has been working since 2001, the Saudi Arabia women haven’t been able to receive much freedom. With the laws they do have, many go uncounted for because the kingdom keeps it hidden and many women don’t have access to learn the information because their guardian won’t allow them too.

Some of these laws include having the freedom to live where they want, same rights as men, and have a right to stop their guardianship control. Women are legally allowed to to access government services without anyone’s permission, which would allow them to ask for divorces, wardship, trusteeship and the adoption of children. With the laws that women have, they should be able to do more than what they’re told by the kingdom that rules.

Since Women are subject to have more laws than they know, one may feel it’s important that these women unite to fight for the right’s they actually already have. To make some more changes, the first steps would be to communicate with the CEDAW to collect all the information on what women can legally do and then expose them to the disrupting truths that actually happens to Saudi Arabia’s women.

From there, the CEDAW and the many other countries can also help these women by forcing the kingdom to allow these women to their legal rights without punishing them. To make sure these laws stay inforced, they must make sure that religion does not get involved with the political laws when improving them. While improving these laws, the kingdom should begin to think more about equality since their women are allowed to do must activities with the current laws.

Overall, the past few decades for Saudi Arabia’s women have changed drastically when it comes to their freedom, many changes have occurred to better them but there are still many more restrictions that need to be changed to help their country and the rest of the world. With less restrictions and more freedom, women in Saudi Arabia would be more exposed to better opportunities, better self esteem, more reassurance of a safe community.

Setting better boundaries for their women’s rights would also increase the chances of the country involving for the better on its own financially and politically wise. Changing the limitations of their women would begin a new and safe journey for the future women to come and change its traditional route for women all together.

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Women in Saudi Arabia. (2019, Jun 14). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/women-in-saudi-arabia/