The Struggle for Saudi Arabian Women's Rights Should Live On



Summary:

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdelaziz has recently passed away, and is now hailed as having left a “relative” legacy as a women's advocate. It is relative as far as their context is concerned for theirs adheres strictly to the moral and religious laws of their land, and the king having paved the way for their women to enjoy rights that women from the free western world enjoy, is noteworthy to say the least. According to the IBT news, While Saudi Arabia is often criticized for its abysmal human rights record, especially when it comes to women, Abdullah led the slow movement toward a more equal society -- by Saudi, if not, by Western, terms. Despite the Kingdom’s strict adherence to Shariah, Islam’s moral code and the country’s legal code, King Abdullah slowly put in motion laws and organizations that would facilitate equality for women as the country shifted toward cultural and economic modernity.


Comment:

That a country such as Saudi Arabia, so steeped in its religious and cultural traditions, would deem fit to grant their women more freedom, and rights to enjoy, than they had in the past, is a small step forward in the right direction, a small victory. Nevertheless, it is still a remarkable victory for women all over the world. Women of all races and traditions are in to this, for they share in the common struggle to uphold women's dignity, and rightful place in a more just, inclusive society that women themselves have the capability and power to create.

To say much work for women advocacy still needs to be done is an understatement, for a greater part of the world has yet to go beyond the legalistic restrictions based either on religion or mores patriarchal societies exert upon their women. In fact, even in the west, as we see it happening in the US, there are still remnants of a machismo attitude towards women: in domestic and social settings; in the workplace and sadly, even in churches.

Much work indeed still needs to be done against injustices women, not only in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, not only in our own shores, but all over the world, continue to suffer from: domestic violence, trafficking, marginalization in the workplace, rape, being objectified and other indignities.

Women should continue to fight for their equal rights in society. Their voices should never be squelched, as they have as much force, talents and capabilities as men to engage with the fast-changing world, and make this a better, fairer and inclusive place for all.

Going back to the situation in Saudi Arabia, hopefully the modest legacy left by the late King in promoting the rights of their women be continued. The kingdom is a clear example wherein ultra-conservatism to the detriment of women brings a country closer to chaos or instability, left out by progress, no matter how wealthy it is.



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