Recently King Salman, in Saudi Arabia, issued a decree allowing women to drive for the first time in the country’s history. While this is a huge, necessary step for their feminist movement there are still plenty of actions we take for granted here in the United States that they don’t have access to.
1: Make major decisions without men
Every woman has a male “wali” who has ownership over her. This could be a husband, father, or brother. In order for her to make any major decisions she needs the consent of her wali.
2: Wear clothes that show off beauty
The dress code for Saudi Arabian women is covering their whole body and is enforced differently throughout the state. As a general rule though women will be harassed if they wear clothing that show off their beauty or even wear makeup.
3: Interact with men
Criminal charges can be filed for women who socialize with men they are not related to. There are usually separate entrances to public buildings for men and women to limit these interactions.
4: Go swimming
Women are not allowed to use public swimming pools. They must swim in private, female only pools that men can’t see. This is done so that men wouldn’t get aroused looking at women while they swim in their bathing suits.
5: Participate in sports
Women are not allowed to participate in sports or attend a sporting event. Recently they requested to host an Olympic Games but without women competing. Obviously this won’t be passed but is a major wake up call for the discrimination of women in the country.
6: Try on clothes while shopping
Even the thought that women would be undressing in a private room is too much for the men to handle and is therefore not allowed.
The first step was allowing women to drive but as you can see there are plenty more steps to take in order for women to be treated as equals in Saudi Arabia.