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Should women be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia?
Men and women are not treated equally in Saudi Arabia, at public spaces, at homes, at administrative posts and ranks, as well as in rules and regulations; and the police of this powerful Muslin state makes sure that the whims of the state are withheld properly. Women are not supposed to leave home without the presence of a male relative, called a 'mahram' (RT Question More, 2016). Similarly, women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. In spite of there is no official laws which ban women from driving, the deeply rooted religious sentiments and patriarchal society fear the fact that if women are allowed to drive, they would suddenly be treated as equal with their male counterparts (Reuters, Saudi Arabia Women Driving) There have been innumerous protests regarding the same issue, but with very less change, in the outlook of the populous. Technically, women can apply for licenses but they do not get them. Only women in a few villages have had the excellent luck of getting licenses because they live too far away from cities and need a car for their daily lives (Mail Daily, 2016).
Today in the age of science and empiricism, we know that women and men are born equals and that no religious omnipotence has created us (at least that is what we think, we know). I believe that women in all countries should be treated as men as treated. It is the effect of religious and social institutions, as well as mediocre thinking that has put the womenfolk in Saudi Arabia under the patriarchal rule of the menfolk. My argument states why women should be placed on par with men.
The Grand Mufti Sheikh recently states that women should not drive because they might be lost in the road and people at their homes might be worried (RT Question More, 2016). He also added that in case of vehicular break downs, they might get raped and molested; referring to the U.S. stating that women there, are okay with sexual crimes being done with them. It is important to notice here that, in the whole address he made, the only part which seems logical is that women might not have anyone with them, in case they needed emergency help in the middle of the road and that if they are with a 'mahram' or a driver, they would be safer. He also states that driving a car needs a woman to uncover the face and that if women uncover their faces for non 'mahram' males, it would mark the beginning of the breakdown of religious values. Women drivers would also be the one leaving home more often, than their non-driving counterparts and would be at the risk of being harmed, because they would leave home more often (RT Question More, 2016).
As stated in the online newspaper, Mail Daily (Reporter), inferring the Holy Quran as per the needs of the rulers, has been going on for a long time in Saudi Arabia and one such incident is the treating women as being sub-par to men, even though the Quran clearly mentions that both males and females are supposed to be treated equally. The Quran also states the right of the sexes to learn and educate themselves, which can be, in turn, inferred as women being allowed to learn driving for their own needs (Mail Daily, 2016). Even though there are no state-sanctioned rules which stop women from driving, the strong religious institutions and string of religious sanctions, inherently stop women from driving, because the act is looked down upon, by many.
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