DUB Speak

The Not-So-Easy Life Of Saudi Women

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The recent upliftment of driving ban, government’s strategy under the garb of the move and women’s miserable lives – is the battle against patriarchy over in Saudi Arabia?

The recent announcement by the Saudi royal family and officials of the upliftment of ban on women’s driving may seem like an unprecedented victory for Saudi women but it has little to do with their empowerment. Besides, it will be implemented till June 2018.

The sudden news can be anticipated as part of the crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman’s Vision 2020 or a strategy to improve his image internationally after ousting two distinguished prospective crown princes. This ‘radical’ change would improve his stature as a ‘feminist’ thinker and assist him in ascending the throne very soon. But all the applause that is being showered on the royal family is not to be credited to them but those women who struggled for this right since the 1990s and ended up in jails.

During the press release, it was stated that a special committee would be made to chalk out the way to go about implementing this idea of women driving motor vehicles in Saudi Arabia. What is quite startling to note is that this has been issued stating its accordance with the Sharia law and order which according to the officials earlier could damage women’s ovaries and jeopardise their fertility.
First and foremost, the question that arises is the new law’s proper and just implementation, whether the male guardian’s permission still be an obstacle in giving women this freedom and to what extent will they be able to contribute to the country’s economic growth.

Now you must be thinking what this male guardianship is and that is where Saudi women’s real freedom lies. Women in Saudi Arabia cannot travel, marry, get educated, employed or even get a medical surgery done without a male (whether father, husband, son or any other male relative) guardian’s consent. They cannot mingle or even talk with the male fraternity in public barring their guardian(s). Saudi women don’t even have a right over her children beyond age 7 for daughters and 9 for sons. Giving the son the authority to decide the mother’s fate is absolutely appalling and so in line with ancient traditions. Women are considered as mere objects for sexual pleasures.
Women and men all over the world have been trying to escape the shackles of patriarchy and here is a country that is reinstating ancient patriarchy and practically has not entered the 21st-century mindset.

I hope that these women’s lives can be changed similar to the women of Israel and Egypt and also hope you feel proud to be in a country like India.

Feature Image Credits: mintpressnews.com


Prachi Mehra
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