It’s only driving, don’t cheer just yet

Carmelita Islas Mendez

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The latest bone thrown to women in Saudi Arabia is the right to drive.

The order was passed by King Salman as part of Saudi Vision 2030 to create a more modern Saudi Arabia with empowered youth and women and social organization by the year 2030.

Saudi Vision 2030 also is working to increase women’s participation in the workforce from 22 percent to 30 percent.

On the surface, this is great advancement made by the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom, but let’s not forget that this is only the right to drive.

Of course one has to walk before they run, but how long will it be until Saudi women receive substantial rights?

Maybe the basic right to a bank account, get a job or keep custody of the children she birthed after a divorce without having to ask permission from a male guardian.

It seems like everything revolves around keeping Saudi women under her male guardian’s thumb, so hopefully she won’t have to ask permission to drive once the ban is lifted in June 2018 .

The ridiculous, backed-by-nothing argument made by a cleric was that it would hurt a woman’s ovaries if she were to drive.

The only things being hurt were the pockets of many women who were not allowed to drive to work. Women reported that half of their salaries would go to paying taxis or Uber drivers to drive them to work.

Another argument made against passing the order was that allowing women to drive would lead to promiscuity and the collapse of the Saudi family.

Again, this another another ridiculous claim.

Some women would drive themselves to protest the ban facing arrest and being fined.

Loujain Hathloul, Saudi women’s rights activist, attempted to drive into Saudi Arabia as protest and was placed under arrest for over two months.

Hathloul simply tweeted, “Thank god.”

While it is a new right that will finally give Saudi women more independence and hopefully more space to achieve their ambitions, it is only driving.

There is still much more work to do, such as making sure that women receive fair trial seeing as their testimonies are half of that of a man’s or at the very least not having to wear shape-less black cloaks to leave their homes.

So maybe world leaders and activists shouldn’t cheer so loud just yet, and neither should you.

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