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Gender inequality assignment: Discrimination affecting women in Saudi Arabia


Task: Write a gender inequality assignment exploring how the history of gender inequality in Saudi Arabia restricted women from participating and doing many things in public.


Gender Inequality in Saudi Arabia
Thegender inequality assignmentexplores gender inequality in Saudi Arabia that has mainly affected women, although minority societies also experience gender inequality. The mainstreamof violations towards gender rights affect women, but a handful affects men as well.

The history of gender inequality in Saudi Arabia dates back to the Prophet Muhammad’s teachings, although he never encouraged any discrimination and advocated equality of all. But his teachingswere misunderstood, and it was claimed that Islam restricted women from participating and doing many things in public. As per the investigation on gender inequality assignment, this religious tradition has continued being followed by most SaudiMuslimArabs resulting in the women in those nations experiencing severe gender inequality (Kraidy). While religious teaching doesacknowledge the importance of women towards the survival of the next generation, the man is placed in a superior position. The readings used to prepare this gender inequality assignmentsignify that this may be linked to men participating in war and being involved in protecting women and children, resulting in them being classified as dominant. It has remained the cultural practice in SaudiArabia since Islam's establishment and continues to be viewed as the only stature for women in the region. While globalisation and modernisation have resulted in many men changing their negative attitude towards women, many continue to abide by tradition and religious laws and customs while in public. This still places the women in an inequality situation since they cannot act, behave, or make decisions based on their choice without asking for permission from their guardians.

Every woman must answer to a male guardian: the first and most concerning inequality against Saudi women noted in this gender inequality assignment is the requirement for every woman to have and be answerable to a male guardian which results in girls being placed under male guardianship. In most cases, their fathers could also be their brothers, cousins and other close relatives (Al-Ahmadi). Once married, awoman’s guardianship would be transferred to her husband, who would take over her responsibility and protection. The guardianship results in the women seeking permission for every essential requirement from her male guardian. Permission must be given when the women intend to leave home or go outside. Some situations also see the husband or guardian escorting her to every location she wants to visit. Herein gender inequality assignment; this includes visiting her parental family, where the guardian transfers temporary guardianship to her brother or father.

Girls and women in SaudiArabia also require to get written permission from their legal guardian to receive an education. Education is not compulsory for women in Saudi Arabia, which results in girls and women being deprived of schooling if their guardian disapproves of her receiving a formal education (Hamdan). It also applies to medical treatment, where her guardian must provide written acceptance and approval for the women to receive treatment or any form of medical attention. These issues identified in this gender inequality assignment results in the loss of thousands ofSaudi women’s lives due to minor medical problems despite having adequate finances and access to high-quality medical facilities.It is a significant concern and mainly affects women living in rural and small cities since they require a guardian’s permission to receive treatment.

Girl Child Marriages: another major violationof women rights and gender inequality considered within this gender inequality assignment is the possibilityof a father or guardian marrying a girl above the age of 10 to older and more mature men.The tradition can be traced back to Prophet Mohammed, who married his second wife, Aisha, who wasa child at the time of marriage. The action legalised girl child marriageresulting in fathers offering their girls to marry at a very young age (el-Hazmi et al.). This religious tradition continues to date, with many girls being trained and guided to accept the early marriage.

Saudi women cannot drive: While women from across the globe celebrate due to gender inequality being abolished and women’s rights being recognised, women inSaudiArabia cannot even drive a vehicle or two-wheeler. It makes them reliant on their guardian to transport them, hire taxies or use public transport. It is a significant restriction on women, which prevents them from acquiring any meaningful development since they rely on others to transport them from one location to another. Self-driven women from other nations have developed rapidly since recognising women’srightsallows them to pursue their career and personal life and interest, which is easier while moving. Free commuting has been an essential requirement for any woman’s development, but Saudi women continue to be deprived of this fundamental human right.

Women must remain separate from men in public: In this gender inequality assignment, another significant gender inequality experienced bySaudi women is their inability to attend mixed-gender gathering groups. Sharia law requires women to stay separate from men at public functions, meeting and celebrations, which violates several human rights linked to socialising. The gender inequality is not limited to women. It affects both genders since they are not allowed to mix at a public gathering, resulting in couple’s also remainingseparate despite being married and even having children. The law aims to help avoid skirmishing between men or women who may feel their partner is being mocked or taunted by another person. Keeping genders separate is one way of preventing skirmishes and conflict, but this also violates fundamental human rights.

Saudi Women restricted from voting: Saudiwomen are also limited and banned from voting in both local and general election or any other situation where votes need to be cast. It is a significant violation of women right and a severe gender inequality aspect against women in Saudi Arabia.The research performed for this gender inequality assignment illustrates that the inability to participate in voting results in the loss of a large proportion of the votes, making a significant difference in election results. Global women pollution statistics show approximately the same percentage of women as men, which makes this a consequential loss of options (Pharaon). Involving women in voting would change the power struggle, which could significantly affect the ballot. While SaudiArabia continues to be a monarch were voting is not performed, there is still situations that require leaders to be voted for, but women are unable to cast their votes despite them being liable to this right as per international law.

Saudi women allowed working and pursuing profession:  while Saudi Arabia is claimed to be the biggest violator of gender inequality, women do have some rights, such as pursuing their career and working. A large proportion of modern Saudi women are highly educated and allowed to seek employment and jobs. Still, due to centuries ofdominance by men, only 5% of professionally qualified women work or pursue their professional career (Rawas et al.). According to the UNDP, this is a significant wasteof knowledge and resources since the women acquire the education but never put the experience into practice, resulting in wastageof expertise. The reason linked to the high percentage of women simply not choosing to pursue their professional life is unknown since there are no laws restricting them. Still, most will avoid employment and working due to tradition.

Restrictions imposed on men:  while many people from Europe and other nations observe Saudi to be a nation seriously violating women’s rights, it’s essential to know that men also have restrictions. One of the main restrictions imposed on Saudi men's is not being allowed to marry women from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Chad and Burma.  The reason for this restriction mentioned in this gender inequality assignment is unknown, but a strict law is in place which restricts men from marrying women from these countries.

Every manis expected to abide by customary laws and will be held responsible for any broken laws. There are no exceptions linked to breaking the rules, and both men and women are held responsible and punished via corporal punishment. This is a serious violation related to human’s rights and applies to both genders. SaudiArabia continues to follow Sharia law, which sentences offenders to severe punishments to set an example to prevent future attempts towards violating the law (Anonymous).

It is evident herein this gender inequality assignmentthat Saudi Arabia has been among the biggest violators of women rights and gender equality. The nation follows laws and regulations set during the establishment of the Islam religion and continues to practice them to date. It’s important to understand that while many of these restrictions are imposed on women for certain reasons, many of the women are also willing to practice and abide by the rules despite having the opportunity to adoptchange (Rawas et al.). This is due to spiritual and cultural ethics playing a heavy role in each person’s life, and many are not willing to change their way of life even when presented with more attractive options.As per the gender inequality assignmentreligion and culture remain essential pillars in every society, and many community members will respect cultural and religiousguidelines they were taught and followed since childhood.

Al-Ahmadi, Hanan. “Challenges Facing Women Leaders in Saudi Arabia.”gender inequality assignment Human Resource Development International 2011: 149–166. Web.

Anonymous. “What Is a ‘Good’ Sharia Law?” Toronto Star 2009: A.14. Print.

el-Hazmi, M A et al. “Consanguinity among the Saudi Arabian Population.” Journal of medical genetics 32.8 (1995): 623–626. Web.

Hamdan, Amani. “Women and Education in Saudi Arabia: Challenges and Achievements.” International Education Journal 2005: 42–64. Print.

Kraidy, Marwan. “Reality Television, Gender, and Authenticity in Saudi Arabia.” Journal of Communication 59.2 (2009): 345–366. Web.

Pharaon, Nora Alarifi. “Saudi Women and the Muslim State in the Twenty-First Century.” Sex Roles 2004: 349–366. Web.

Rawas, Hawazen O. et al. “Cultural Challenges to Secondary Prevention: Implications for Saudi Women.” Collegian 19.1 (2012): 51–57.Gender inequality assignment Web.


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