Monday, November 5, 2007

When Is a Saudi Woman Considered an Adult?

by Maha Akeel from Arab News

We cannot claim that a Saudi woman has all her Islamic and civil rights when the system insists on considering her immature, irresponsible and dependent on her male guardian no matter how old she is, how highly educated and intelligent she might be or what she has achieved in her professional career. At what age and under what circumstances is a woman in Saudi Arabia considered an independent, sane, responsible adult? ...Why is it that the system and society do not raise objections to a father marrying his 13-year-old daughter to a 70-year-old man but objects to a 40-year-old woman deciding to marry someone suitable against her father’s wishes because he would like to continue benefiting from her teacher salary? ... A woman, even a 70-year-old woman, cannot travel abroad without the written, signed and notarized permission of her male guardian, who might be her son or nephew. Is this the respect we give our mothers, and we know how highly respected mothers are in Islam?

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