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Archive for the tag “Saudi Arabia”

A new page-Pakistan

I just wanted to say that I have added a new page about Pakistan to ‘World Wide Women’. It talks about the efforts of Pakistani women to gain more rights and about the position of Pakistani women in the health and education sector, in sport and in the media. This is a link to it or you can find it under the World Wide Women heading. If you are interested in the page you might also like my pages about  Saudi Arabia and Iran. The next page I plan to do will be about India. Please comment if you like the page!


Saudi – Women In The Kingdom

I found this a few days ago and it ties in nicely with my page about Saudi Arabia in World Wide Women so I thought I’d share it. Thanks to Irish News Review for the post.

Irish News Review


‘This is a man’s world’. Nowhere are James Brown’s words truer than in Saudi Arabia. While most women in Europe and America have the option to choose their careers and have equal rights, female Saudis in this Islamic monarchy that leads using strict ‘sharia’ law are still officially considered second class citizens. Their primary role is to support the man of the family and to bring up the children.

Saudi Arabia is a high income economy, its main products being oil, gas and other natural reserves. Its people have grown hugely wealthy due to the world’s reliance on oil. In a country filled with such riches, life should be wonderful for all 26 million of its citizens. However, the lack of equality for women in the Kingdom is shocking by today’s developed world’s standards. A quick browse of random websites on the internet throws up numerous examples of the injustices…

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Driving Dilemmas

I read about this in the paper quite a while ago but forgot to blog about it until now, so it’s probably stale news but I’m going to tell you about it anyway! You have probably read my post about the Women2drive campaign in Saudi Arabia. Well, women in China also seem to be having trouble driving without discrimination. The Beijing police posted up on their Weibo page a list of tips for women drivers entitled ‘Women Drivers Please Take Care To Avoid These Mistakes’. The article gives advice such as: don’t wear high heels when driving, don’t panic after an accident, remember to change gears and don’t forget to release the hand brake.

The article is illustrated with a picture of a women driving a car shaped like a stiletto. The police also think that some women lack a sense of direction when driving and often cannot remember how to get to their destination, even when they have been there several times.

The public response has not been positive with many people commenting on how sexist the advice was. Others pointed out that men also cause car accidents and that it is unfair to point the finger of blame at women. One comment reads ”There are only new and old drivers! No men and women drivers!”


During the last few months, the Saudi Women2drive campaign has been put into action with women around the country taking to the wheel. You may remember that I mentioned this campaign on the Saudi Arabia World Wide Women page. Technically, there is no official law that forbids women from driving in Saudi Arabia but there are no driving licences issued to women in Saudi Arabia. The campaign encourages women in Saudi Arabia with international drivers’ licenses to drive themselves around while running ordinary errands. Some women who have participated in the campaign have published videos of themselves driving or have tweeted about it afterwards. Here is a video promoting the campaign. This was posted up on Youtube by LamaG6. There are lots of other videos about the campaign on Youtube, so it’s well worth having a look!

The campaigners expect that their actions will soon produce a result, as the campaign has been getting a lot of publicity. If you agree with Women2drive, please try to support on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter or anywhere else you can think of!


Wadjda and the bike she dreams of having

Wadjda and the bike she dreams of having

Wadjda is a film about an enterprising and energetic young Saudi girl. It is a mile stone in the progress of Saudi Arabian women’s rights due to the fact that it is the first feature-length film to be directed by a female Saudi director. Not only that, but the main character has far from docile opinions about the rules and restrictions surrounding her. The story line is Wadjda’s efforts to buy a bike. When asking her parents fails she embarks on an ambitious plan to win a Koran recital competition in order to spend the prize money on a bicycle from the local shop. I would definitely recommend seeing it as it is a great film which manages to combine fun with powerful messages about modern-day Saudi women and girls. The general public opinion seems to veer in favour of the film and the reviews are good.

The film is educational in the sense that it depicts a culture which is very different from the cultures in most parts of Europe. In a way I found it hard to understand some parts, such as not being seen in the streets by men, getting married at much younger ages and even the idea of girls not riding bicycles. However, I think that the film illustrates all of these points and many more in great detail and that the different levels of Islam and different opinions are very well represented. One of the main features of the film is Wadjda’s relationship with a local boy, Abdullah and their friendly rivalry. He is Wadjda’s main reason for wanting the bike, she wishes to prove herself superior, or at least equal to him. I don’t want to give any spoilers so I’ll just say that Haifaa Al-Mansour has made a film to be proud of!

N.B I saw Wadjda at the Irish Film Institute but it will soon be showing at the Pavillion Theatre in Dun Laoghaire.

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