You educate a woman, you educate a generation!
If anyone ever says that the world doesn’t need a feminist movement because women have achieved most of their rights, then ask them to come and visit Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is the classic example of a society where women’ oppression and patriarchy continues to thrive. Moreover Saudi men are unapologetic oppressors. They don’t See women beyond the theological perspective – seeing them as mere bodies to reproduce and labourers to take care of the house. They take pride in oppressing their women and the world knows the condition of Saudi women. And the reason people are silent is because Saudi Arabia justifies its archaic treatment of women as being all about religion.
Saudi Arabia is a non-secular Islamic theocratic monarchy. The state edicts are aimed at controlling women living in the country. Islam clearly does not encourage oppression of women; in fact one could argue that Islam gives women more rights than most religions. Yes, there are instances in the Quran which mention that man is considered to be the ‘caretaker’ or ‘prior’ to the woman. The Saudi men have taken caretaker in all its fallacious contexts. The women of Saudi can’t even acquire education without the consent of the male guardian. Furthermore, in a lot of cases, the women think that they are at fault for asking for their rights because they are making God angry. Religion is injected in them in a way that they cannot even raise their voices for themselves. Pleasing their male guardians has become the purpose of their lives. The employment rate of women in Saudi Arabia is comparatively low. According to World Bank and International Labor Organization data, only 20% of physically capable women are in the workforce, of which 21% are unemployed (World Bank).
The bottom line is that men are suppressing women in the name of culture and religion and women seem helpless. The oppression is not limited to the private sphere; the state oppresses women too. From getting your driving license, education, Identity or to working as a professional, you need a male guardian for every legal issue. The fact that women stay hand by hand and do not allow the unfair behavior to change them is the most surprising fact in Saudi Arabia. There are a lot of women who stay strong and try to speak and be other woman’s voice. Wajeha al-Huwaider is a founder of the association for the protection and defense of women’s right in Saudi Arabia, she is a female activist and a writer. She said “And you, Saudi women: what are you waiting for?… You do not hesitate at all to help and support others but you hesitate greatly to help yourselves… I would like to understand why you hesitate to initiate the demand for your right.” (Middle East Media Research Institute 28 December 2006)
World Bank. (n.d.). Unemployment, female . Retrieved from World Bank: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.UEM.TOTL.FE.ZS
World Bank. (n.d.). Labor force participation rate, female. Retrieved from World Bank: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.TLF.CACT.FE.ZS
Badran, M. (2013). Feminism in Islam: Secular and religious convergences. Oneworld Publications.
Seedat, F. (2013). When Islam and feminism converge. The Muslim World , 103 (3), 404-420.
Seedat, F. (2016). Beyond the Text: Between Islam and Feminism. Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion , 32 (2), 138-142.
“Women’s Activism in Saudi Arabia.” Wikigender, http://www.wikigender.org/wiki/womens-activism-in-saudi-arabia/.