Congratulations to the Women of Saudi Arabia!

I was absolutely thrilled last week to read that Saudi is going to give woman the right to vote and run in elections.  A few years back I worked in Riyadh, Saudi on behalf of the British Council and apparently I was only the second woman ever allowed into the Ministry of Education.

I met some amazing woman during my time, some of the most highly educated woman I’ve ever met and I’m still friends with a few of them to this day, speaking regularly via Facebook.  I was openly welcomed into their secret world, even attending a wedding and privy to a very sober hen-do.  However, they went out of their way to try to convince us they were happy, not being oppressed and that the Western World had it all wrong. Nevertheless, I couldn’t shake the niggling feeling this wasn’t the case, as Shakespeare said ‘lady doth protest too much’.

When I travel I have a policy of keeping my ‘eyes open and my mouth shut’, which you may find hard to believe. I disagreed with a lot that I saw from beneath my Abaya; the school was highly segregated, if we had technical issues they couldn’t be dealt with while we were in the building as the technicians were male.  We travelled in separate cars to our male counterparts and they had tinted windows, when we didn’t (this was during the time people were taking pot shots at foreigners at intersections and 3 days before Ken Bigley was beheaded). When we were invited into people’s houses for dinner we were allowed to eat with the men, uncovered, while our new female friends ate with the hired help.

Last night at book club we had a discussion about this, not a heated one, but a few were absolutely disgusted that this was still going on in this day and age.  I had to remind them that not that long ago (within a 100 years) it wasn’t that different here.  I’m not sure how it will work logistically as woman are unable to drive and they’ll have to be escorted by male family members but I strongly believe that this is a step in the right direction.

What do you think?  Is it a step in the right direction?  Is it an empty promise?








Author: mediocremum

A slightly older mum of one, who drinks far too much red wine and has an unhealthy obsession with her slow cooker. During the day she's an ICT Trainer, Social Media/Online Marketing consultant and does a bit of public speaking. Full Profile on Google+

5 thoughts on “Congratulations to the Women of Saudi Arabia!”

  1. Although we had the odd comments on twitter and agreed on various little tweets, am afraid, on this occasion I will have to disagree with your last conclusion of congratulating the women in Saudi Arabia.

    The whole thing is a total disgrace to the women in Saudi. This is like having a tight rope around their neck, and then telling them congratulation you are allowed to breath once a day. More to the point, one should ask why now. not for the respect of women by the ruling family, or because king Fahed woke up after his cancer operation in USA and thought to himself that he was wrong about women in his Kingdom. Far from it. It happened by advices from the west after sending his troops to Bahrain to contain the uprising in the neighbouring state. The uprising that is happening around the Arab world where people are saying enough is enough and enough is plenty. These people were not just men, they were women too. And as you can see, sending troops to shut these people up is not something he can be grateful for by any citizen in the Arab world apart from their dictating rulers. So as a token of openness ( more likely a token of desperation), a rise of 20% to the public sector salaries, introducing a minimum wage structure and allowing women to vote. This way making the majority of the population happier( not happy). in doing so he had or so the king thinks, he had dealt with the people that might start an uprising in his kingdom. The wealth distribution in country that has a licence to print money is worst than the one in USA. 0.4% of the population own 97% of the wealth. Just as an example and reminder to the readers of this blog, the income generated from the Hadj period ( the time where Muslims make their way to Macca for religious duties), is enough to keep economy going in Saudi Arabia for 15 months without selling a drop of oil. bear in mind the hadj is every year. I have visited Saudi Arabia quite sometime ago in a tournament when I was playing for my National team, and quite frankly, is not somewhere you would like to visit again. You feel like an alien, you have to watch every single thing you do and every single thing you say and every single thought in your head other wise you will be locked up. I am a Muslim, and Saudi Arabia, couldn’t be further from truth of representing Islam. There is no need to mention names, but i was in the circular (friend of friend)of some Saudi and Abu Dhabi ruling family relations visiting London on a number of occasions, and they were up from illegal recreation, to prostitution, to to to was beyond belief.

    Hope I did not upset anyone that the sun rises from the kings back side

    1. I have to admit I’m slightly confused now as well. Hopefully, someone will pop by and clear this up for us?

  2. I think this is something the women of Saudi should build on. It’ll take time and courage, just like it did in the UK, but such a regime cannot survive much longer in this global age and I’d take this as a signal that women should seize the moment. Go girls!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *