A selection of articles indicating progress or
in the rights of women, primarily in
Staff at this web site subscribe to many Internet news services. From time to time, when we see an item that demostrates progress, stagnation, or a reduction in women's rights from around the world, we will report them here.
News items from Saudi Arabia:
During 2017-SEP, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia announced a "Vision 2030" program to modernize some aspects of society. This includes allowing women to drive vehicles. One female activist called this a "great victory. Another said things would "never be the same again."
The US ambassador to Saudi Arabia described the move as "the right decision at the right time".
As of the first half of 2018, the kingdom remains the only country in the world that bans women from driving.
2011-SEP: Saudi Arabia: Even those women with an international driving license were not allowed to drive vehicles in the country.
This is regarded as a social restriction because there is no actual law or religious edict prohibiting them from driving.
Latifah Alshaalan, a member of the Shura council, a government advisory panel, told broadcaster Al Arabiya that future driving licenses for women: "... is a great victory for many Saudi women. This was the one file and issue which Saudi women have fought not just years, but decades for." 1
2011-SEP: Saudi Arabia: Shayma Jastaniah, a woman in her 30's, was found guilty of driving a vehicle. She was sentenced to ten lashes.
2016-DEC: Saudi Arabia: Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia tweeted:
"Stop the debate. Time for women to drive."
He also issued a four-page open letter that said in part:
"Would it not be better from the standpoint of safety, security, not to mention religious morality, to allow women to drive their own cars than to expose them to the dangers inherent in having them driven alone by foreign males?"
A married woman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with the Twitter handle "Malak Al Shehri" posted a tweet saying that she was going out for breakfast without wearing either a hijab or abaya head covering. A photograph of her was later posted on the Internet. There were calls that she be imprisoned, or that the state execute her and throw her corpse to the dogs. But there were many more in the country who came out in her support.
Saudi Arabia issues its first driving licenses to ten women. one was Rema Jawdat, who said: "It's a dream come true that I am about to drive in the kingdom. Driving to me represents having a choice -- the choice of independent movement. Now we have that option." 2
Women in Saudi Arabia remain subject to strict dress codes and gender segregation.
They are still required to ask a male authority in their lives for permission to apply for a passport, leave the country, get married, open a bank account, start certain business, getting elective surgery and even leaving prison.
Human Rights Watch, has said that the guardianship system in the country effectively turns women in to "legal minors who cannot make key decisions for themselves." 3
After the country's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2009 and 2013, it promised to end the male guardianship system. But the changes have been minor and most of the system remains in place as of mid-2018. 3
The government of Saudi Arabia announced In a royal decree that Princess Rima bint Bandar al-Saud will become the country's next ambassador to the United States. She will be the country's first woman ever to be an envoy to another country. Prince Khalid bin Salman currently holds the post. He will become the country’s deputy defence minister. 4
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Saudi Arabia women hail end of driving ban," BBC News, 2017-SEP-27, at: https://www.bbc.com/
- "Saudi Arabia issues first driving licences to women," 2018-JUN-08, at:
- "Boxed In: Women and Saudi Arabia’s Male Guardianship System," Human Rights Watch, 2016-07-16, at:
- Rafiq A. Tschannen, "Saudi Arabia announces princess as US ambassador," Yhe Muslim Times, 2019-FEB-24, at: https://themuslimtimes.info/
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Copyright © 2016 to 2019 by Ontario Consultants on
Original posting: 2016-DEC
Latest update : 2019-FEB-24
Author: B.A. Robinson