Gender Equality In Saudi Arabia Essay

1786 words - 7 pages

The subrogation of females in Saudi Arabia is a religion based social and gender specific systematic methodology of inequalities permeating across class distinctions of income and wealth, status, sex and gender inequalities. Based upon tenets of the Muslim faith, this patriarchal system of dominance is viewed as adherence to the teachings of Allah, and considered a special accommodation for the uniqueness of the female gender. The religious justification that fuels the extremely disadvantage position of Saudi Arabian females has ingrained controls designed to systematically maintain and create boundaries and obstacles, precluding females from gaining, exercising or controlling power (Henslin 2011). The male execution of power over the female gender is supported by state policy and is precipitated without fear of reprisal. The expectation of male dominance over the lives of Saudi women is mandated with men being held criminally responsible for allowing the females in their families to interact outside of the strict moral code.
Often compared to by westerners as “gender apartheid” (Lichter 2009:277), the restricted lives of Saudi women are inclusive of segregation and exclusion. Saudi women experience segregation in where they may eat work and play, with permission necessary for access to education, employment, and the purchase of any item demonstrating individual selection choice or power, including entertainment items, books, plane, train, and other travel tickets. Saudi Arabian women, despite holding Saudi citizenship, have unequal access to the basic rights of Saudi citizens. They are prohibited from voting in political elections or for running for public office, and are denied equal immigration status opportunities for their spouses and children. While Saudi men are permitted to marry western women (after Muslim conversion), and have their wives and children become Saudi nationals, Saudi women who marry western men (with Muslim conversion), face the daunting and often impossible task of naturalizing their husbands and children. Public segregation precludes non-related males and females from sitting together (Lichter 2009).
While Saudi women have access to restaurants and public dining, they are relegated to smaller “family areas”, away from public view (Lichter 2009). Saudi women are prohibited from leaving their homes, entering public places, or venturing outside without their husbands or a male relative chaperone. They are also prohibited from riding bicycles or driving cars. Despite the humidity and heat of the Saudi dessert climate, the acceptable dress for public presence represents gender specificities, with males wearing white flowing robes and optional white head wraps. Women are mandated by the Saudi strict moral code to wear black, heat absorbing ankle length black robes called abaya’s with full-face veils called niqabs (Lichter 2009). Failure to submit to the tenets of this stringent moral code can result in a lack...

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