''You can't go to an Indian woman and say, 'Why are you wearing a sari?' '' fumed Hend al-Khuthaila, a university professor who was the first female university dean in Saudi Arabia. ''You can't go up to a Western woman and say, 'Why are you wearing a short dress?' Well, this is our abaya. This is part of my culture. It's part of my tradition. It never bothered me.''
Maha Muneef, a female pediatrician, emphasized that Saudi Arabia is progressing, albeit more slowly than many women would like. ''My mother didn't go to any school at all, because then there were no girls' schools at all,'' she said. ''My older sister, who is 20 years older than me, she went up to the sixth grade and then quit, because the feeling was that a girl only needs to learn to read and write. Then I went to college and medical school on scholarship to the States. My daughter, maybe she'll be president, or an astronaut.''
Another doctor, Hanan Balkhy, seemed ambivalent. ''I don't think women here have equal opportunities,'' she acknowledged. ''There are meetings I can't go to. There are buildings I can't go into. But you have to look at the context of development. Discrimination will take time to overcome.''
Dr. Balkhy emphasized that Saudi women want to solve their problems themselves. These days in particular, she said, even liberal Saudis feel on the defensive and are reluctant to discuss their concerns for fear that foreigners will seize upon the problems to discredit their country.
All this created an awkward series of interviews. I kept asking women how they felt about being repressed, and they kept answering indignantly that they aren't repressed.
So what should we make of this? Is it paternalistic of us in the West to try to liberate women who insist that they're happy as they are?
No, I think we're on firm ground.
If most Saudi women want to wear a tent, if they don't want to drive, then that's fine. But why not give them the choice? Why ban women drivers and why empower the religious police, the mutawwa, to scold those loose hussies who choose to show a patch of hair?
If Saudi Arabians choose to kill their economic development and sacrifice international respect by clinging to the 15th century, if the women prefer to remain second-class citizens, then I suppose that's their choice. But if anyone chooses to behave so foolishly, is it any surprise that outsiders point and jeer?Continue reading the main story
Women Driving in Saudi Arabia Essay
678 WordsOct 15th, 20123 Pages
Saudi Arabia is the only county in the world where women are not allowed to drive. In this year 2011, two ladies have been taken to jail for breaking the law and driving in public. The issue of permitting women to drive has become at most controversial and argued issue in Saudi Arabia. People from all over the world start to judge Saudis as backward people, attach the country and criticize the law of Saudi Arabia. Here I would like to get a closer look at the situation and examine the topic in depth in order to have a better understanding.
Why women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia?
Here we have two opinions; the argument is mainly between the religious or conservative people and liberals in the other hand. Some of Islamic…show more content…
So their main point is to preserve and protect women and their reputations.
In the other side, the opponents say that since it’s their right to drive then let’s leave the choice for them to decide for themselves. They are adult and they are fully aware of the situation Saudi Arabia. More over they believe that in the Islamic law there are strict punishments especially for the rapist, where the rape crime is considered as a capital crime. The penalty is to be sentenced to death. In other words “you can’t close one’s store because there are lots of thieves”. They also say that “if your main concern is reputation” then what about the other problems that women face. For a girl to go from one place to another, she has to take a taxi to end up being with a stranger. In addition, who is going to satisfy their need of transportation? Not all of the families have good allowance to afford a private driver or to pay the taxi’s fees.
In a conclusion a want highlight that the issue is more complicated than it seems. Personally I am looking for the moment where the women are allowed to drive. The king of Saudi Arabia has promised to raise the ban but we need to be patient. Still the majority of Saudis are still against women drive. People need to be more open and the government has to work had to enlarge streets and develop the traffic system. They have also to create special sections that deal with the female’s traffic