What It’s Like to be a Woman in Saudi Arabia. From choosing a husband to using public transit, lots of everyday things we're completely used to are prohibited for women in Saudi Arabia. According to the 2017 Gender Gap report by the World Economic Forum, Saudi Arabia ranks 138th out of 144, making it one of the harshest places for women to live as far as equal rights are concerned.
Women aren’t allowed to move around freely. 1:34
In September 2017, the King of Saudi Arabia announced a major change in the law that will allow women to drive cars starting in June 2018. A woman will still need to get her guardian's permission to drive, though. Taking a train is allowed only in Riyadh, but women still have to use a separate car at the end of the train. As for bus companies, most of them refuse female passengers. In some regions, a woman who takes a cab without her guardian is considered immoral.
They must be covered entirely. 2:38
When on out in public, women in Saudi Arabia cover their entire bodies, with the exception for their face, hands, and feet. A black abaya (a long dress with sleeves) and hijab (a head covering) are the only things a woman can wear. The clothes should be made from thick fabric and baggy so that they don’t highlight a woman’s curves.
They don’t have much choice when it comes to work. 4:06
Women can choose to be doctors, nurses, and educators. Female politicians and lawyers are very rare exceptions. For women, it's much harder to build a career than for men since they’re paid less and don't get benefits like medical insurance.
Women will never answer the door 5:55
Most houses in Saudi Arabia have two entrances: one for men and one for women. Women can hang out with their female friends but only in their half of the house. Male guests can only visit the other half of the house where women aren’t allowed. If a woman needs to tell her husband something, she can call him over the phone.
There is no gender equality. 7:23
A Saudi woman’s word is two times less valuable than a man’s. Just to file a lawsuit, she needs 6 male witnesses. A child can never become a citizen of Saudi Arabia if his father is a foreigner. A man gets two times more when it comes to inheritance, and women in rural areas are usually excluded entirely from the lists of heirs.
They can't go anywhere without a male escort. 0:41
They weren’t allowed to drive until recently. 1:34
They’re prohibited from using public transit. 2:07
Women must be covered entirely. 2:38
A college education, though not prohibited, isn't necessary. 3:32
Not many of them work, but that’s quickly changing. 4:06
Do Saudi women marry for love? 4:58
They'll never answer the door. 5:55
Boys go right, girls go left. 6:17
There is no gender equality. 7:23
Sports are for the boys. 7:53
Bonus: what if a woman breaks the rules? 8:24
-Women in Saudi Arabia don't have the right to go anywhere without their husband or a male relative that's called a Mahram.
-Even though women are allowed to drive starting June 2018, they will still need to get their guardian's permission to drive.
-Taking a train is allowed only in Riyadh, but women still have to use a separate car at the end of the train.
-When on out in public, women in Saudi Arabia cover their entire bodies, with the exception for their face, hands, and feet.
-Women are allowed to get a higher education, but there are a lot of limitations.
-While only 12% of women worked in the private sector in 2011, nowadays this number is up to 30%.
-Forced marriages are officially prohibited, but a contract between the future husband and the father of the bride is still necessary.
-Most houses in Saudi Arabia have two entrances: one for men and one for women.
-Society is split into female and male parts not only in the home but also in public places, like on the beach, in public transportation, and especially in restaurants since women need to remove their veil in order to eat.
-A Saudi woman’s word is two times less valuable than a man’s.
-The women of Saudi Arabia weren’t allowed to represent their country in the Olympic Games until 2012. But still, it's not easy for Saudi women to build a career in sports.
-The religious police can punish a woman for simply talking to an unknown man or for wearing clothes that aren’t made from thick fabric.
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