Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Happy Birthday, Saudi Arabia

by Mona Eltahawy from Middle East Online

The nation of Saudi Arabia is 77 years old -- richer and more internationally prominent than ever. But there are still many rights denied to women ... When my family moved from the UK to Saudi Arabia in 1982, my mother -- a physician who like my father had just earned her Ph.D. from a British university -- said she felt she had been rendered a cripple by her inability to drive in what can only be described as gender apartheid. While wealthier women who can afford to hire drivers can circumvent the driving ban’s restriction on their mobility, no amount of money shields them from the requirement that women produce a male guardian’s permission to do the most basic things, including traveling and receiving medical care. The personal costs of speaking out have always been high. The women who staged the first public challenge to the driving ban in 1990 were denounced as whores in mosque sermons, were banned from working for two years and had their passports temporarily confiscated.

No comments: