Yes to Women Driving in Saudi Arabia
Name: Mohamed D. Ray-zack Date: 5/12/2010 “Women’s right to Drive in KSA” I realize how people of two genders, coming from different ethnic backgrounds and having various degrees of devotion to religions sit together, talk, argue, oppose, explore, learn, laugh, repent, and , hopefully, become better people with greater knowledge and higher ambitions.
I am grateful to Charles Darwin for his clarifications of how evolution of living beings takes place; but beyond the biological explanation of traits inheritance, I can elaborate in his theory and apply it to the evolution of humans’ favorable characteristics that could significantly evolve into what are so-called “principles”. It really is impressive to see the immense evolution of human rights around the world since people started calling for liberty, civil rights, and virtuous democratic governments.We could successfully step to that high level of humanity understanding not by being dissimilar to each other, but by being open-minded and by seeing the inner beauty in others and ourselves. Along the way of evolution -my proposed rights evolution-, there are several challenges to our beliefs and traditions, which definitely come by turning points, and, eventually, support our rights and establish greater principles. One of the worldwide challenges stirring in the heart of the Middle East is Saudi women’s call for equal civil rights.Saudi Arabia is one of the hot spots where social implications affect not only the neighboring countries but further extend to the worldwide. Since the foundation of the Saudi government, the Saudi society experienced outstanding changes in the grounds of civilization, culture, education, and gender-based interactions (Al-Mohamed, 2007).
Not so long time ago, if a Saudi national would like to walk in public in jeans and a T-shirt, he would lose his national identity in other Saudis’ perspective; this is a mild example of how conservative and strict the Saudi society was.Women education in schools was a long-term debate with lots of controversies analyzed by the government and the national council of senates (Harrison, 2008). The society could later understand the need to let off girls to school so they can draw their own pathway instead of being a property taken from the parent’s house to the husband’s house and then to the grave. Although Saudi women could overcome many challenges as they called for equality, one demand remained upheld: women driving in Saudi Arabia.The conservative Saudi community does not consider women to be worthy of rights equal to those of men (Harrison, 2008); since there is no need for the majority of Saudi women to come out their habitats and earn a living as men do, it is unnecessary, Saudi thinks, to have human rights given to men and women equally. The rights given to a Saudi woman do not grant her the adequate civil independence, keeping her head under man’s armpit unable to access the basic rights in the various aspects of health, security, career, marriage and divorce (Al-Mohamed, 2007).This poor treatment which women are experiencing is an expression of government’s fear of impracticality if women are more often seen in public.
Being more often in contact with men as they drive on Saudi roads, women will become subject to frequent harassment and immoral reactions by loathsome males. But if you think twice about this reasoning, you find that women will always be subject to harassment since it is not women’s fault that boys show improper behavior. Driving ban does not promise for fewer stigmas, and keeping women indoor as much as possible does not promote malfeasance, either.Basically, the problem is that men are violating women’s rights, and, to confine harm, the government have ripped off more rights from women by setting this driving ban. Nonetheless, the government totally understands the principle that no one should restrict any feminist right, whether it would be prohibiting women driving or obligating ladies to dress in black cloaks and veils. King Abdullah Al-Saud allowed female students in KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science & Technology) to interact with male colleagues freely, to drive cars on campus, and to forgo veils in co-ed classes (U.S.
Dept. of State, 2010). Ladies in Aramco city of Dhahran District are given driving licenses to drive to markets, friends’ residents, recreation parks and anywhere else within Aramco campus (Saudi Gazette, 2009). These two examples reflect the government’s understanding of women’s absolute right to be a liberal civilian. Many Saudi academes reported to Western media that the women driving ban lacks any religious reasoning (Fattah, 2007). Muslim scholars clearly stated that it is not illegal for women to drive and to be present in public as often as men are.Islam is sometimes abused by some individuals of authority to keep on banning women driving in order to achieve personal goals and delay the occurrence of many unpleasant consequences.
The primary reason of this ban is the social implications, which are expected to follow stretching the capacity of women freedom to an extent of women free mobility across the country. Women drivers will pass the threshold to more rapid demands for further liberty legislation, and women will have a greater power so they may call for equal job opportunities, feminist representation in politics, and, more importantly, independence from male guardianship.That chain of liberty reactions is likely to be the upcoming nightmare the Saudi government fears. Yes, Saudi women liberty will no longer remain folded and it is just a matter of time until we witness women and men driving side by side on Saudi roads (Umm Omar, 2010). One concept needs to be emphasized is that women driving is not just practical; it can save women’s self-respect and dignity. After critical thinking of the essence of this driving ban, I cannot see vehicle driving is simply an independent right with no effect on other principles.Misbehavior toward women in Saudi Arabia is witnessed and driving can be the solution to avoid the immature flirting in public and the risk of female pedestrian being kidnapped with no one to notice that crime.
This is how we can understand that the best utility will not be brought by banning women driving, but social awareness and education are more effective in orienting the way of thinking of many people, youth in particular, if we assume that the Saudi Kingdom is a society of rational agents.To put it briefly, misbehavior of some immature minors is not a valuable reason of why women ought to lose the essential right of vehicle driving in the Kingdom. In fact, there should be no reason whatsoever to distribute civil rights on men and women unequally. This unfair ban does not solve the occurring dilemma of harassment, which can be more effectively dealt with by awareness of the displeasing impacts following that sort of behavior. A current plan negotiated among the Saudi government is to legalize driving for women older than forty years old (Noora, 2007).It is encouraging that the government is going to make a change, but this proposal still does not grant women, generally speaking, the complete right of mobility and independence. Legalizing women driving should take place irrespective to any age group.
Being one of the top Muslim nations, Saudi Arabia should also support the feminist care for equality since Islam has always proven to be a fair sponsor of women and men equality.