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Saudi Arabia: A step in the right direction…?

Sure, it is great that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has finally allowed women to vote and run as candidates…but isn’t this a bit too late? The new law won’t even be implemented until 2015. We applaud the oil rich kingdom for arriving at this solution at last but let’s be real here. Do they deserve a standing ovation for an achievement that is hardly called an achievement? Between now and 2015 it is surely predictable that women will not remain silent. The Arab Spring has brought women to the forefront of politics and media, allowing them to have a voice. This women’s movement is only set to grow bigger and stronger. The importance of the female role in the Arab Spring has rightfully been noticed by the international community. To brag about women’s rights being granted in 2015 is not only shameful but something that should perhaps be reconsidered.

For some background, Saudi Arabia is considered one of the most sex-segregated countries in the world and the world of a female is quite complicated. Without a male chaperon, a woman is very limited to her rights as an individual. The kingdom is known to be a unique country that follows Islam and women there have reportedly claimed that they do not want radical change. Of course, we cannot speak for every woman but how is a woman supposed to understand what she is supposed to be entitled to as a human being first and then a woman if she has never experienced it. When the country is male dominated, how is a woman supposed to gain enough confidence to believe that she too has the same potential?

In the last year, Saudi women have challenged the Saudi system and are demanding their rights. Most recently, the media spotlight has been focused on Najila Hariri, a Saudi activist and campaigner for women’s rights who will stand trial, along with several other women. Hariri was caught driving a car in a campaign for “Women2Drive” and “My Right, My Dignity” and this of course challenged the Kingdom’s image to the outside world.

Shouldn’t we have moved passed women’s rights by now? Isn’t Saudi Arabia a little too slow in acting?

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