More Rights for Women in Saudi Arabia

 

Saudi Arabia has very strict laws for women. They must cover their hair and faces and are not allowed to drive a car or travel without a man beside them. This is about to change as the King of Saudi Arabia has announced that women would be allowed to vote in the next elections. They will also be allowed to run as candidates.

One of the biggest problems facing women is the ban on driving. Although there is no real law that forbids this, driving licenses are not given to women. In addition religious leaders say that women are not allowed to drive according to Islamic law.

Even though Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy in which the king makes the last decisions, religious leaders have gained much power in the past years. Women’s rights are a topic that is much discussed in the Middle Eastern kingdom.

In general, women must follow traditional customs that come from conservative tribes in the country. They must wear a long black dress and cover their hair. Many must also cover their face when they go out with their husbands.

Most women must have a person who looks after them, a kind of guardian. They must obey these chaperones, who can also be a brother or other relative. A woman in Saudi Arabia can only work if the guardian allows it, which is why only a small percentage of the female population has a job.

 

In the past few years King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has become more liberal on the topic of women’s rights. He has taken steps to give women more respect in society. Giving women the right to vote in elections is one step in making the Arabian country more democratic.

 

Saudi Arabian woman wearing traditional clothing

Saudi Arabian woman wearing traditional clothing - Walter Callens

 

Related Topics

 

Words

  • absolute monarchy = a country in which a king or queen has all the power
  • according to = as said by …
  • although = while
  • announce = to say officially
  • ban = forbid
  • beside = next to
  • candidate = a person who wants to get into a high position or be elected
  • cover = put something over you
  • custom = habit, tradition
  • driving license = a document or card that says you are allowed to drive
  • election = when people vote for a person to be in a high position
  • female = about women
  • gain = get
  • guardian = someone who must look after a person and is responsible for them
  • in addition = also
  • kingdom = country ruled by a king
  • law = set of rules in a country
  • percentage = part
  • rights = things that you are officially allowed to do
  • society = people in general
  • step = action
  • strict = here: they must be obeyed
  • topic = issue, subject
  • tribe = group of people who belong to the same race , speak the same language and have the same traditions
  • vote = to choose someone for a position