Saudi Arabia Is Not Even Willing To Think About Letting Women Drive

A study was suggested to simply study the effects of allowing women to drive. But the kingdom is not even willing to start a rational discussion over the issue.

Saudia Driving

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women cannot get behind the wheel.

The ban remains enforced, thanks to top ranking religious clerics, many of whom believe that the position a driver sits will harm the reproductive system of a woman (because her worth depends only on her ability to have children).

In order to clear such ignorant views and misconceptions, a study had been presented to the Shura Council, the formal advisory body of Saudi Arabia. 

It would have simply studied the effects of allowing women to drive. Some of the questions it would have considered are: "What are the difficulties if they start? What is required to allow them to drive?"

However, even this proposal to get a conversation started failed to get the 50 percent plus one approval required for it to proceed.

Interestingly enough, the study was rejected around the same time that the torchbearers of human rights managed to retain a coveted place in Human Rights Council.

Riyadh may have refused to take in Syrian refugees and may have bombed a Yemeni hospital but it, somehow, remains an important ally of the West in its fight against ISIS.

A slow expansion of women’s rights has begun in Saudi Arabia, with women being allowed to vote and run in the elections in 2015. However, women have been restricted in many other arenas.

Activists are fighting back. In a movement that gained steam again in 2011, many women got out of their homes to drive around the cities but authorities maintain that the Saudi society is not yet ready for such change.

The Gulf kingdom has not only banned women driving, but until recently, had also prohibited women from traveling without a male blood relative, such as father, son, brother or, in case of marriage, her husband.

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