Nine things Saudi women still can't do

Published: December 12, 2015


RIYADH: Saudi women vote Saturday for the first time in elections but still face a host of other restrictions, among the tightest in the world.

Under Saudi policies and practices women cannot:

Saudi women vote Saturday for the first time in elections but still face a host of other restrictions, among the tightest in the world.

Under Saudi policies and practices women cannot:

1. Drive. Saudi Arabia is the world’s only country banning women from getting behind the wheel.

2. Travel, without the consent of a male family member known as a guardian

3. Marry, without the consent of a guardian

4. Work, without the consent of a guardian

5. Appear in public without covering herself in a black ‘abaya’ from head to toe

6. Receive the same amount of inheritance as a man

7. Work in certain jobs

8. Mingle with unrelated men in public places such as restaurants

9. Divorce as easily as a man

Saudi women can:

1. Vote in municipal elections, the kingdom’s only polls for public officials

2. Sit on the Shura Council, an appointed body which advises cabinet

3. Hold the most senior corporate executive posts

4. Work in government administration and an expanding number of private sector areas, including as lawyers

5. Be forced to marry at a young age, as there is no legally defined minimum age

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Point
    Dec 12, 2015 - 5:57PM

    Last time I talked to my penpal, she didnt received a tiny penny of inheritance from family.She is a white american!! and cannot study at university because its highly affordable, and the only options govt. has is heavy loans which take years to be paid back. Indirectly making education a way of high income business in US instead of Education of ALL rant which they only have for countries like Pakistan.Recommend

  • Point
    Dec 12, 2015 - 5:58PM

    I was in Saudi Arabia, I saw several women travelling alone!!! Recommend

  • Hassan
    Dec 12, 2015 - 6:31PM

    Point no 7 and 8 also valid for men.Recommend

  • ajeet
    Dec 12, 2015 - 6:52PM

    So this is the equality that Muslims always talk about?Recommend

  • Nabeel
    Dec 12, 2015 - 7:15PM

    Why is ET obsessed with Saudi Arabia so much?
    While all of the above is more or less true but there is more to it than this list suggests.
    For example:
    One female Saudi employee equals to two male Saudi employees in the mandatory saudiasation system. This tells us how much the government encourages private and semi government firms to hire more and more females here.
    The situation of women rights isn’t as bad as it is projected by our media in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Xyz
    Dec 13, 2015 - 1:40AM

    You are kind of wrong there…. Pre-college education is free and hence education for all. Also the government schools are usually quite good unlike the ones here.

    College education is expensive primarily for private colleges. There are numerous community colleges which are much more affordable though of course education there is not world class as in private colleges. And yet federal loans are available and interest rates in US are quite low. Additionally instate tuition is around half of the normal tuition.Recommend

  • Xyz
    Dec 13, 2015 - 1:44AM

    Just the fact that legally a
    Woman cannot exercise her own choices for the most important things in life makes the situation seem rather bleak.

    In South Asia we have cultural issues but at least the government does not make women second class citizens.Recommend

  • someguy
    Dec 19, 2015 - 9:32AM

    “work in certain places” Thanks for clarifying that. Only in Saudi Arabia are women not allowed to work in “certain” places.
    “Mingle with strange men.” I mean lol you are going to complain about this? Recommend

  • D W
    Feb 4, 2016 - 4:51AM

    They had the consent of their “guardians”, like a child.Recommend

  • Moses
    Feb 4, 2016 - 9:19AM

    Jealous people won’t relax. Please leave us alone. I know you guys in the western countries are forced to pay taxes for nothing. And instead of focusing on your affairs, you are so obsessed with ours.Recommend

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