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Fighting For Their Future

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Photo Courtesy of Saffaa Wordpress

Photo Courtesy of Saffaa Wordpress

Photo Courtesy of Saffaa Wordpress

Isabella Webb, Journalist

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Saudi Arabia is undoubtedly one of the more conservative societies. It is one of the few countries that is still a complete monarchy, and is usually held under a firm grip of the current king. However, when is too little too much?

Women have long struggled for equal rights, and over the past few years, feminism has swept throughout the world. However, Saudi women are denied freedom, the right to drive, the right to self-expression, and much more. To me, this is unfathomable.

I don’t pretend to understand the culture or beliefs that people in Saudi Arabia hold, but I do understand fact. It has been long established that men are not mentally or genetically superior to women in any way. Women contribute greatly to their countries, and there is no doubt that these discriminations actually hurt Saudi Arabia.

There have been numerous protests in and outside of Saudi Arabia, not to mention Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has even said that women should be allowed to drive. In a blog post, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal wrote four pages
describing reasons why women should drive. He said, “Preventing a woman from driving a car is today an issue of rights similar to the one that forbade her from receiving an education or having an independent identity,” He then added, “They are all unjust acts by a traditional society, far more restrictive than what is lawfully allowed by the precepts of religion.”

However, the Saudi Arabia does more than preventing women from driving. It makes them an adult with the rights of a minor. The Saudi Arabia guardian system is the most discriminatory law I have know, and it is far time it was abolished.

Progress was made in 2009 and 2013, when the law was reformed. These reforms made it possible for Saudi women to vote, run as candidates for city elections, made it easier for women to work, and appointed women to the King’s advisory board.
However, despite all the reforms, Saudi women are still denied their basic human rights. They are able to vote, but they aren’t allowed to marry without their guardian’s permission. It may now be easier for them to work, but aren’t allowed to unless their guardian gives their approval. Women can run for city leadership positions, but can’t travel or be released from prison if their guardian doesn’t permit it. It doesn’t matter if a Saudi women is on the King’s advisory board-they still need their guardian to warrant their access to health care. Saudi women’s lives are dictated from the moment they are born until they die. They are required by law to always have a male guardian, whether it be a father, husband, brother, or even a son.

Last year, over 14,000 women signed a petition to end the guardian system. Furthermore, approximately 2,500 women sent direct telegrams to the Saudi King’s office appealing him to overturn the guardian system once and for all. It hasn’t been clear on whether the petition has been granted, but I applaud their bravery. After all, the world isn’t changed by people who sit back. History is made by those who fight for what they believe in.

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Fighting For Their Future