Saudi Film Celebrates Women's Rights Progress By Celebrating Men

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In the wake of ongoing historic women's rights reforms in Saudi Arabia, Alwaleed Philanthropies has released a film that, in essence, celebrates men.

Over the past three years, Saudi Arabia has undergone unprecedented change as far as women's rights are concerned.

For instance, they have been allowed to participate in municipal elections, fly planes and ride motorcycles.

In order to celebrate the historic reforms, Alwaleed Philanthropies, chaired by Saudi Arabia's richest man, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, has launched a video campaign.

The film shows how Saudi women can now perform activities like wingsuit stunts and driving cars — all thanks to men.

Yes.

The bottom line of the campaign is: "Next to every great woman, a man believing in her."

A woman who can be seen skydiving in a wingsuit is accompanied by a man, presumably her husband. A girl cycling is accompanied by a male guardian, presumably her father.

The campaign, therefore, is quite ironic considering it shows how women remain dependent on the support of a man to progress in life. It essentially celebrates women's rights progress by celebrating male guardianship, which remains a sensitive issue for Saudi women, despite the historic reforms.

In September 2016, over 14,000 Saudi women filed a formal petition to end the country's discriminatory male guardianship laws, which dictate a woman must get the permission of her male blood relative or husband to carry out even the most menial tasks, such as riding a bike or getting a passport. However, it did not materialize into any sort of change.

Although, Saudi Arabia's de-facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has spearheaded progressive reforms to improve women's rights, the core issue, the male guardianship system, continues to plague Saudi women.

Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters

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