Middle Eastern Studies
April 29, 2014
The Disadvantages of a Saudi Woman
Saudi Arabia has evolved as a country economically through the past years. Yet, socially, Saudi Arabian women continue to face the hardships of living with a lack of rights and privileges. The strong traditions and laws have forced Saudi Arabian women to suffer without freedom. As a result, women in Saudi Arabia have to face limitations on their daily life as the law and Islamic traditions prevents them from doing things such as being able to drive or decide to get a divorce or not. Saudi Arabian women keep on fighting against the law and traditions without being able to have a change.
Saudi Arabia is a country that is ruled under a monarchy and a Council of Ministers. This Council of Ministers consists of twenty two different ministers who are in charge of different areas regarding the society and the king is the head of the different councils. Although Saudi Arabia is an independent country it is not ruled under a constitution like mostly every independent country in the world. Instead, Saudi Arabia is ruled under the Sharia a " [body of the law] based on the Koran and the example of the prophet " (Besheer and Hunt, 29) due to the country's affiliation to the Islamic religion. Making this clear we can see how the Islamic religion and the Saudi Arabian laws are involved together resulting in a lack of rights to their citizens especially towards women in order to keep traditions.
Women all over the world have been fighting for decades to be equal to men, and they've been able to gain what they want in many countries, but Saudi Arabia is not one of those countries. According to the book Cultures of the World: Saudi Arabia by Hunt Janin and Margaret Besheer, the reason why Saudi Arabian women haven't been able to obtain the rights women in other countries have is due to "one of the the most important social values in Saudi Arabia- honor" (Besheer and Hunt, 74). I agree with the book as men feel they are superior and meant to protect women. This is not only the situation in Saudi Arabia and Middle Eastern countries but in the whole world as well. Due to the influence of the Qu'ran within the law in Saudi Arabia, women are not able to speak up for their rights and what they want.
Women in Saudi Arabia are expected to cover up and are banned from driving or interacting with men that aren't related to them. All this limitation might seem unreasonable for me as a Mexican who is allowed to dress however I want, to drive and to interact with whoever I wish to, but most Saudi women have become used to this rules and don't seem to disagree with them. "[They] have been brought up to accept this way of life as entirely normal" (Besheer and Hunt, 75). Although most of these women have grown to believe this laws are meant to be the right thing to do, some women have actually rebelled against their country's traditions and law in search for a future...