We are all familiar with the fact that women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive but how many of us know that they are forbidden from entering libraries as well.
A Saudi website Shafaqna did an exclusive report on how the women of Hafar Al-Batin, a town in Eastern Saudi Arabia, are not allowed to enter the public library.
Please note that there is only one public library in Hafar Al-Batin.
This is not an unusual phenomenon for the Kingdom, where women all over the country do not have full access to libraries in general.
Some libraries assign special areas where women can make requests for books. While others graciously reserve certain days in the week where only women can frequent the entire library premises.
For those who have no such privileges like the women in Hafar Al-Batin, they must rely on their legal male guardians to do the job.
What makes it worse is that books are very expensive. Buying one instead of borrowing is not an option for those who cannot afford it, according to special education expert Nadia Aldul Rahman.
Saudiwoman) shared her experience visiting libraries in Saudi Arabia with Carbonated.TV on twitter.
@SamEhteram few have one day a week assigned for women and only then can they go into main building.— EmanAlNafjanأمشادن (@Saudiwoman) November 6, 2013
@SamEhteram old news.Most main libraries do & some have a side building where women go to request a book but can't wander among book shelves— EmanAlNafjanأمشادن (@Saudiwoman) November 6, 2013
, an active Twitter user has an interesting comment on the issue:
Her response is witty but it is also a reflection of the extremely repressive circumstances faced by women in Saudi Arabia.
On the up side, more and more Saudi women are finding their collective voice and in some cases taking action.
Even the regime shows small signs of change. Recently a domestic abuse law was passed in the Kingdom protecting women, children and domestic workers. Saudi King did revoke the above mentioned lashing, they have been allowed to vote and despite severe domestic criticism, female athletes were allowed to participate in London 2012 Olympics. Then there is Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel, a role model for modern Saudi women.
Read about some of the issues Saudi women face.
Read about Saudi women standing up for their rights: