Preventing Women from Driving in Saudi Arabia
The main objective of this research is to show arguments, which support and condemn women driving in Saudi Arabia. It also offers recommendations on legal and policy changes that Saudi Arabia should make and cultural adjustments to allow women to drive.
Arguments against women driving in Saudi Arabia
Those who argue against women driving in Saudi Arabia believe that the country is vast and moving from city to city requires that one to cross a desert. This could be challenging for women since they are vulnerable to dangers. Allowing women to drive and traverse the desert would expose them to attacks and endanger their lives (Niblock, 2004). In cases where a vehicle experiences mechanical problems, a woman would have almost no option but remain stranded in the desert. Additionally, it is easy for thugs to attack women and even rape them in the desert. These are enough reasons that explain why women should not drive in Saudi Arabia because of the desert.
Moreover, women have high esteem in Saudi Arabia. However, according to Islamic culture, she is likely to lose the respect if seen with a man. Thus, she can only avoid this by not driving. If a woman is to travel, then her husband or brother should drive her to guard her reputation and that of her family. Thus, women should not drive for their own respect and uphold cultural standards.
Arguments for women driving in Saudi Arabia
Women in Saudi Arabia should drive because of various reasons. For example, there is an increase in the number of attacks on women by male drivers. Hiring a male driver exposes a woman to various risks. To deal with this, the law should allow women to drive. It is clear that the law and culture put more emphasis on the reputation of women in society (Weston, 2011). Allowing women to be driven by male strangers endangers their reputation. This explains why assault directed on women by male drivers is common in Saudi Arabia. By allowing women to drive, there will be flexible working patterns because they will go to work even when the husband is committed elsewhere.
It is clear that Saudi Arabia has a promising economy. Nonetheless, the country has high cost of living. Hiring a male driver is a financial burden, which a family has to bear amidst economic challenges of meeting basic needs. In the absence of hiring a chauffeur, a family could save a lot. Above all, the law allows women to drive. By denying them driving powers, the country infringes on their human rights. Moving around should not be dependent on the availability of men. What happens if the husband travels away for weeks? Does it mean that the wife will not move around to look for basic needs? Saudi Arabia should allow women to drive like it is in othe Islamic states in the world (Piela, 2012).
The possible changes in laws and policies as well as cultural changes to favor women driving
Saudi Arabia needs a referendum to determine whether banning women from driving should be upheld or annulled. This would be instrumental for authorities in making policies. Additionally, the authority should allow women to drive during specific times under surveillance and make recommendations depending on their behavior on the road and the risks involved. For the sake of Sharia laws, Saudi Arabia should train foreign maids to chauffeur women to tame cases of assault by male drivers. Because of security, Saudi Arabia should allow women to drive in large cities. It should also improve security to tame attacks on female drivers. Because of too many taboos, the law should allow women to start driving in company of their husbands until when such taboos die. Lastly, Saudi Arabia should emulate other Islamic nations in the world, which allow women to drive.
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Niblock, T. (2004). Saudi Arabia: Power, legitimacy and survival. Abingdon, Oxford: Routledge.
Piela, A. (2012). Muslim Women Online: Faith and Identity in Virtual Space. London: Routledge.
Weston, M. (2011). Prophets and princes: Saudi Arabia from Muhammad to the present. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.