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Saudi Women Get Right to Vote, but Can't Drive Yet. 

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  #1  
Old 09-26-2011, 02:44 AM
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Saudi Women Get Right to Vote, but Can't Drive Yet.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, considered a reformer by the standards of his own ultraconservative kingdom, decreed on Sunday that women will for the first time have the right to vote and run in local elections due in 2015.

It is a "Saudi Spring" of sorts.
For the nation's women, it is a giant leap forward, though they remain unable to serve as Cabinet ministers, drive or travel abroad without permission from a male guardian.

Saudi women bear the brunt of their nation's deeply conservative values, often finding themselves the target of the unwanted attention of the kingdom's intrusive religious police, who enforce a rigid interpretation of Islamic Shariah law on the streets and public places like shopping malls and university campuses.

In itself, Sunday's decision to give the women the right to vote and run in municipal elections may not be enough to satisfy the growing ambition of the kingdom's women who, after years of lavish state spending on education and vocational training, significantly improved their standing but could not secure the same place in society as that of their male compatriots.

That women must wait four more years to exercise their newly acquired right to vote adds insult to injury since Sunday's announcement was already a long time coming — and the next local elections are in fact scheduled for this Thursday.
"Why not tomorrow?" asked prominent Saudi feminist Wajeha al-Hawaidar. "I think the king doesn't want to shake the country, but we look around us and we think it is a shame ... when we are still pondering how to meet simple women's rights."

The announcement by King Abdullah came in an annual speech before his advisory assembly, or Shura Council. It was made after he consulted with the nation's top religious clerics, whose advice carries great weight in the kingdom.

It is an attempt at "Saudi style" reform, moves that avoid antagonizing the powerful clergy and a conservative segment of the population. Additionally, it seems to be part of the king's drive to insulate his vast, oil-rich country from the upheavals sweeping other Arab nations, with popular uprisings toppling regimes that once looked as secure as his own.

Fearing unrest at home, the king in March announced a staggering $93 billion package of incentives, jobs and services to ease the hardships experienced by some Saudis. In the meantime, he sent troops to neighbor and close ally Bahrain to help the tiny nation's Sunni ruling family crush an uprising by majority Shiites pressing for equal rights and far-reaching reforms.

In contrast, King Abdullah in August withdrew the Saudi ambassador from Syria to protest President Bashar Assad's brutal crackdown on a seven-month uprising that calls for his ouster and the establishment of a democratic government.

"We didn't ask for politics, we asked for our basic rights. We demanded that we be treated as equal citizens and lift the male guardianship over us," said Saudi activist Maha al-Qahtani, an Education Ministry employee who defied the ban on women driving earlier this year. "We have many problems that need to be addressed immediately."

The United States, Saudi Arabia's closest Western ally, praised the king's move.

In Washington, National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said it recognized the "significant contributions" women have been making in Saudi Arabia. The move, he continued, would give Saudi women more ways to participate "in the decisions that affect their lives and communities."

The king, in his own remarks, seemed to acknowledge that the Arab world's season of change and the yearning for greater social freedoms by a large segment of Saudi society demanded decisive action.

"Balanced modernization, which falls within our Islamic values, is an important demand in an era where there is no place for defeatist or hesitant people," he said.

"Muslim women in our Islamic history have demonstrated positions that expressed correct opinions and advice," said the king.
Abdullah became the country's de facto ruler in 1995 because of the illness of King Fahd and formally ascended to the throne upon Fahd's death in August 2005.

The king on Sunday also announced that women would be appointed to the Shura Council, a currently all-male body established in 1993 to offer counsel on general policies in the kingdom and to debate economic and social development plans and agreements signed between the kingdom with other nations.

The question of women's rights in Saudi Arabia is a touchy one. In a country where no social or political force is strong enough to affect change in women's rights, it is up to the king to do it. Even then, the king must find consensus before he takes a step in that direction.

Prominent columnist Jamal Khashoggi said that giving women the right to vote in local elections and their inclusion in the Shura council means they will be part of the legislative and executive branches of the state. Winning the right to drive and travel without permission from male guardians can only be the next move.

"It will be odd that women who enjoy parliamentary immunity as members of the council are unable to drive their cars or travel without permission," he said. "The climate is more suited for these changes now — the force of history, moral pressure and the changes taking place around us."

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  #2  
Old 09-26-2011, 03:46 AM
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Re: Saudi Women Get Right to Vote, but Can't Drive Yet.

Well, at least that is a step in the right direction for middle eastern women to have rights!

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Old 09-26-2011, 05:04 AM
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Re: Saudi Women Get Right to Vote, but Can't Drive Yet.

Yeah, but it's more complicated than that. Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other Middle Eastern countries that enable women to vote aren't doing too much for women's rights over there. The women's situation over there starts with how their own families treat them. It starts with religion and deeply rooted cultural traditions. These things don't change with the ability to choose between conservative and liberal versions of Middle Eastern politics. They need to get rid of the tribalism, status-obsession, racism/sexism/classism, and authoritarian beliefs that keep their family systems glued.

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Old 09-26-2011, 06:56 AM
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Re: Saudi Women Get Right to Vote, but Can't Drive Yet.

Rubbish all of you!! Its Saudi insurance companies pushing this " let women drive agenda". We all know women pay their premiums and dont crash like us men. "Hijabs in Hummers", its a womens cause!!

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Old 09-27-2011, 01:57 AM
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Re: Saudi Women Get Right to Vote, but Can't Drive Yet.

US imperialism is working !

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Old 09-28-2011, 04:49 AM
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Re: Saudi Women Get Right to Vote, but Can't Drive Yet.


means fucking nothing
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Old 09-28-2011, 08:47 AM
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Re: Saudi Women Get Right to Vote, but Can't Drive Yet.

Quote:
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans women _ both Saudi and foreign _ from driving.

The prohibition forces families to hire live-in drivers, and those who cannot afford the $300 to $400 a month for a driver must rely on male relatives to drive them to work, school, shopping or the doctor.

There are no written laws that restrict women from driving. Rather, the ban is rooted in conservative traditions and religious views that hold giving freedom of movement to women would make them vulnerable to sins.
What a load of religious b.s (again)

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Old 09-28-2011, 09:52 AM
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Re: Saudi Women Get Right to Vote, but Can't Drive Yet.

so what. they are there and we are not.

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Old 09-28-2011, 10:09 AM
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Re: Saudi Women Get Right to Vote, but Can't Drive Yet.

It's more than religion. It's the entire social system in the Middle East. Even the most liberal of these countries, Iran (I don't consider Turkey or the Balkans as part of the equation), lives in a caste-like society. Oil demand doesn't help them because with oil their governments see no need to diversify their economies. Without diversified interests, is there really such a thing as democracy and modernization? Oh, and the gap that oil leaves is filled by illicit trafficking. These governments make bank on selling little girls to rich men.

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Old 09-28-2011, 01:41 PM
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Re: Saudi Women Get Right to Vote, but Can't Drive Yet.

Saudi rules are fucked up. A woman can't drive a car. Reason behind that is she could get in trouble and the car would break and she would have to ask men for help. But then they allow her to hire a male driver to bring her where ever she wants to go. And if that driver would rape her and she wouldnt have any witnes she would get the blame. Yeah, right.

Those aint islamic rules btw, that's just men made BS.

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