describe Freedom enjoyed by women in Saudi Arabia.
What do people usually ask about when they talk about women in Saudi Arabia? I have heard a lot of problems here in the States or in some countries I have visited that why women are prohibited to drive in Saudi Arabia. I really was not sure in the beginning, why? I thought it is a religious concept; however, after I asked some older people like my father and some of my teachers in Saudi Arabia about that, I realized that it is not a religious issue. Nowadays, a woman driving is one of the biggest issues in Saudi Arabia. The country divided to three groups and each has his unique knowledge and opinion and because of that the government has interfered in the topic to see what the best for the country is.
The first group which is against the topic is the religious and the elderly people. Religious people say that a lot of problem may occur because Saudis did use to see women driving and we should avoid the issue before it starts. They also, say that a lot of men who did not use to see women driving may act badly with that. According to Dr. Yamani, a famous academic preparer in Saudi Arabia, that women driving is not a religious issue and it does not have a relationship with the religion of Islam. Therefore, he asked religious people to support any good idea for the country and its people.
For some elderly people in Saudi Arabia, who are also against the topic, say in the media that they are not against because of the women but because of the country to be away of any issue. Elderly people say that they have enough experience in life which let them know what the right is and what is not. They say that every time a new thing comes to the country, a problem starts for few months until people get used to it and until they know the advantages and disadvantages in it. They give an ex of what happened in the beginning of the 1900s when the Satellites invaded the country and how a lot of people disagreed to have them at homes because it included some bad channels which may affect young and youth people. This issue stayed for almost couple years until people knew what is good and the bad for them and for their people. According to Mr. Afan Halawani, the vice president of retirement association in Jeddah, Saudi Arabai, that women in Saudi Arabia for sure are going to drive; therefore, people should think about the consequences before they approve the subject.
On the other side there is a group of people who usually give good evidence when they talk about issues in Saudi Arabia. Those are the liberal people. In the case of women driving in Saudi Arabia liberal people talked a lot in media to convince the government to approve it and make it legal. The ex-minister of information and the leader of the liberal group in Saudi, Dr. Mohammed Abdo said that women should drive as soon as possible because that is much better than ridding the car with a driver who considers a stranger. Dr. Abdo said that the government should think intelligently with issue and they should keep in mind that letting women drive in Saudi Arabia is the safer for women because we heard a lot of stories about drivers who raped or tried to rape women while they are alone with them.
Another active member group in the liberal group is Dr. Alawaji who is a famous poem in Saudi Arabia. Dr. Alawaji said in an interview that he is surprised to hear that some people say women driving may affect badly on the country. He said that more than 73% of Saudis spend their vacations out said the country and as is well-known all countries allowed women to drive. Therefore, Saudis used to see women driving around the world and for sure it is going to be a good effect instead of the bad effect some think about. In addition, Dr. Alawaji added that his wife and daughters are good drivers and they used to drive whenever they go outside the country.
After a lot of long discussion about women driving in Saudi Arabia, king Abdullah interfered and gave a speech about that. He mentioned his point of view that he is a part of the country and whatever is best for the country he will go with it. He sent the case to the Saudi Social Council to study the case and give the final decision in that. The case has been in SSC for more than a year with no response or final decision till now because some members in the SSC disagree and some do. So it is still a controversial issue even in the office of responsibility. Nowadays, or particularly in the last three weeks nothing in media in Saudi Arabia about women driving may because media is waiting for the final decision or may be because the media got frustrated and tired of an issue with no respond.