Should Women Drive a Car in Saudi Arabia - Essay Example

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This essay explores the issue of women driving a car in Saudi Arabia. In the contemporary age, car happens to be the most fundamental necessity of every individual irrespective of age or sex, except for the children that are under-age for driving…
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Should Women Drive a Car in Saudi Arabia
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"Should Women Drive a Car in Saudi Arabia"

Should Women Drive a Car in Saudi Arabia?
In the contemporary age, car happens to be the most fundamental necessity of every individual irrespective of age or sex, except for the children that are under-age for driving. Time has gained the status of money one can not afford to lose time just because one does not know how to drive. Saudi Arabia has abstained women from driving by law. Since Saudi Arabia has the greatest significance as a Muslim country, most of the critics of this policy tend to find the roots of this policy in the religion, yet there are a lot of people who consider the sophisticated and man-dominated culture of Saudi Arabia responsible for such policies of the governors. One thing is understood that being human, it is women’s fundamental right to drive in Saudi Arabia. In the present age, women have come at par with men in every field of life. With their wisdom, women have gone shoulder-to-shoulder with men and have shaken people’s wrong estimates regarding their talent. In order to analyze the matter in depth, it is imperative that an analysis of the teachings of Islam as well as the Saudi culture is made.
Women have an equal to right to study and excel in the profession as men provided that they can manage their primary duty of household. A lot of women can be both very good wives and very successful executives. Islam does not prohibit that. What Islam prohibits is a woman’s attempt to go out without a decent and modest dressing. Islam binds every Muslim woman to fully cover herself up with big shawl before leaving home or appearing in front of people who are not their “mehrams”. Thus, from a religious perspective, all that needs to be done is to oblige the women to cover themselves up fully, rather than banning their driving.
Culture of a country is a reflection of its history. Therefore, if we make an in-depth analysis of the culture of Saudi Arabia, we need to look into the history of Saudi Arabia. A big part of Saudi Arabia is composed solely of deserts. Deserts are spread far and wide. In ancient times, when there used to be no cars, people would make use of camels to travel from one place to another in Saudi Arabia. This was because of the quality of camels to live without feeling a need to drink a drop of water for days provided that they are well fed and are allowed to quench their thirst before the commencement of the journey. In those days, whole families including women would travel upon camels. Saudi Arabia. There was no distinction between men and women in those days. It is commonly believed that if women are allowed to drive, they will be harassed by men. “This is blaming the victim. If men are the guilty party, then let’s ban them” (Batarfi).
Now let’s look at this matter from a sociological perspective. The number of women who graduate every year in Saudi Arabia is greater than that of men. This means that more women would be working in Saudi Arabia than men after graduation. In fact, a lot of women in Saudi Arabia do work and are connected to their respective professions. In such a place, “A driving ban such as this means that a male would be ferrying the woman to and back from work, to the mall, even for groceries!” (Rehman).
Saudi women have started to have their say in this regard as well which is a big step forward. In an attempt to be legally eligible for driving, many women have started to acquire international driving licenses because they are acceptable to the law of the Kingdom (“Saudi Women Driving”).Wajeha al-Huwaider got behind a car’s wheel and drove it disobeying the Saudi law to show her consent against the law (Mackey). Likewise, recently, Mana al-Sharif revolted against the law:
Saudi women are saying enough is enough. It started with one woman, Manal al-Sharif, a 32-year-old who…was arrested for driving unaccompanied. Ms al-Sharif was later released and has since uploaded a video to YouTube showing her driving. That's encouraged other women to drive alone and use social media technology…to overturn a great injustice. (The Sydney Morning Herald).
However, Manal al-Sharif was freed after she pledged not to drive again and abolish her campaign (Booth).
In order to work the best way out which accords with both the religion and culture of Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia's Shura Council has come up with certain recommendations which are quite logical and reasonable. According to these recommendations, a woman is allowed to drive only if she fulfils certain conditions imposed by Islam upon her (AINA). This makes sense Islam being the fundamental religion of Saudi Arabia and she being the insignia of Islam.

Works Cited:
Assyrian International News Agency. “Saudi Arabia to Allow Women to Drive - With
Conditions.” 20 Mar. 2008. Web. 28 Jun. 2011. .
Batarfi, Khaled. “Women Driving in Saudi Arabia? Why Not?” 6 Mar. 2005. Web. 28
Jun. 2011. .
Booth, Robert. “Saudi woman driver freed after agreeing to quit campaign.” 31 May
2011. Web. 28 Jun. 2011. .
Mackey, Robert. “A Year Later, a Saudi Woman Still Waits to Drive Legally.”12 Mar.
2009. Web. 28 Jun. 2011. .
Rehman, Mehmudah. “Why can’t women in Saudi Arabia drive?” 25 May 2011. Web. 28
Jun. 2011. .
“Saudi Women Driving: News and Thoughts about Saudi Women Driving.” 25 Jun.
2011. Web. 28 Jun. 2011. .
The Sydney Morning Herald. “Driving change in Saudi Arabia.” 21 June 2011. Web. 28
Jun. 2011. . Read More
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Brilliant paper! Used it to finish an assignment for a gender & sexual studies course. It was easy as ABC, for the first time in my life.
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