Saudi Arabia is on a roll with this not-treating-women-too-much-like-2nd-class-citizens thing! Earlier this week King Abudllah announced that women could vote and run in elections. Then on Wednesday, a member of his staff told the AP a Saudi woman will be spared a punishment of 10 lashes for flouting the country’s ban on women driving. The woman, Shaima Jastaina, was found guilty of driving without a license (as Saudi Arabia only issues such licenses to men) and sentenced to 10 lashes. Geez Louise, hold onto your testicles, boys, because it is like the office of Ms. magazine over there! Just kidding: the official speaking to the AP declined to elaborate about the amnesty, which may signify the king is trying not to draw attention to it and risking angering Saudis who oppose the expansion of women’s rights. But two grand, pro-women gestures in one week is still something to celebrate. [Al-Jazeera]
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Saudi Arabian women may now vote and run for office, King Abdullah declared on Sunday, ending a portion of the restriction on women’s rights in the region. Women in Saudi Arabia are still required to have a male chaperone (usually a male relative) to do most things and are still forbidden from driving. Therefore, the extent to which women actually can exercise their right to vote or to run for office may be limited. However, the king has indicated with this decree that the kingdom may be inching towards change. According to The New York Times, he told the country in an address, “We refuse to marginalize the role of women in Saudi society.” He added that women will be appointed to a government council that advises the monarchy on policy. Keep reading »
Imagine that you could not travel or go to school without your dad’s permission. You need him, your brother, or a male driver to take you anywhere you want to go in a car. He even has a say in who you get to marry.
This is life under Saudi Arabia‘s guardianship law — a combination of the legal code and religious doctrine within the kingdom. Men have guardianship over the unmarried women in their families, which usually means a father is guardian to his daughter (but in his absence, a son or uncle can fill in). When a woman marries, the guardianship switches over to her husband. Even when Saudi women are no longer minors, they are still treated like children in the eyes of the law.
One woman is trying to change all that: a 43-old-old doctor, going by the pseudonym “Samia” in press reports, is challenging her father’s guardianship in the Saudi Supreme Court. Keep reading »
On June 17, women in Saudi Arabia are planning a protest of the country’s ban on women drivers en masse by getting behind the wheel. Women in Saudi Arabia are forced to rely on male relatives or male drivers to get anywhere by car, and are not allowed to travel outside the country without a male relative’s permission or to vote. The Women2Drive campaign, which is gaining support through a Facebook group called “I will drive starting June 17,” will be an act of civil disobedience that could perhaps lead to a sea change of women’s rights in the Saudi kingdom. According to The New York Times, the protest will not have a centralized location. Women with valid drivers’ licenses from other countries are asked to get behind the wheel of their car, put on their seat belts, and drive around, going about their usual day. If they are able to, women are asked to film themselves driving and upload the video to YouTube. Keep reading »
Take a look at the above images of Mariah Carey: In one picture, she’s in an adorable crop top and shorts set. In the other, she’s decked out in pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Which is real and which is fake? It turns out the fully-clothed Carey is Saudi Arabia’s censored version of the image, in which adorable capri pants were airbrushed onto Mariah’s naked legs. In the conservative Muslim country even superstars have to tone it down.
After the jump, some other Mariah Carey album covers and images that have gotten the Photoshop Magic treatment. Keep reading »