Friday, November 15, 2013

Let Saudi men change their behavior so women can drive

Letters to the editor in the November 15, 2013 edition of the English language daily, the Saudi Gazette. The link to it is here, text pasted in below.

I am writing with regard to the article “Let expat women drive first” (Nov. 11) which suggests that Saudi women who drive would be harassed by Saudi men, so expatriate women should drive first. As an expatriate and as a woman who has lived for 25 years in this country, I feel extremely insulted by this article. Saudi women are not the only ones who are harassed, expatriate women are as well. All women should be protected regardless of their nationality.

Is this article suggesting that expatriate women are not worthy of respect, so they can be treated like test animals? Does Islam suggest that only Saudi women are deserving of respect?

Some Saudi women took a brave step recently in openly driving their cars. Expatriate women did not do so because they know they can face harsh punishment. 

I drove in the UAE for three years and got more respect than in 25 years in Saudi Arabia.  If women have a problem with their car in the UAE, Emirati youngsters stop to offer help without being disrespectful and even the police respect expatriate women as they respect their own women.
- Aisha Khanam, By email

Throughout the argument against women driving, there is one very strong theme: Harassment by Saudi men. This speaks very poorly of Saudi men and they need to take a very good look at themselves and their behavior. Do they behave like this when they are overseas? Instead of controlling women’s activities, it is high time men’s behavior was controlled. Saudi men should just get on with it and behave like everyone else in the world: respect women, treat them like adults, and let them make their own decisions.
- Eliza Conquest, Online response

I have heard of women being harassed even when accompanied by their mahrams, so please stop with these lame excuses. Saudi men need to be held accountable for their behavior and we must stop punishing  women for the bad behavior of men. And think about the fact that letting women drive would lessen the traffic congestion. There wouldn’t be a need for as many foreign drivers. Stop crippling half the population here!
- Susie of Arabia, Online response

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