Different Reality: 12 Strict Rules For Women From Saudi Arabia

Date May 31, 2018

The rights of women from the East were never made equal to men’s. There are many myths and rumors, some of which go too far, like the notion that women there are being walked all over and treated like furniture. But is it so?

The absolute champion in the matter of discrimination of women’s rights is Saudi Arabia. In this country, some things, most common for European ladies, for example, are forbidden. As for the gender equality, Saudi Arabia is the 129th of 134.

We will tell you about Saudi women’s life and prohibitions they face on a day-to-day basis.

1. Mahram

A woman does not have the right to go out alone. There must be a man accompanying her – her husband or a relative. Such a person is called a mahram. Without his consent, the girl can’t do almost anything - neither go to work, nor get married.

2. Abaya and hijab

This one is quite clear – a woman must not appear in public with her head not covered and in inappropriate clothing. Only wearing a black floor-length dress – abaya, and a hijab on the head. It depends on each region how strict the clothes should be.

3. Sports

Not prohibited, but not approved, either. It was only 6 years ago when women of this country were allowed to participate in the Olympics by the government.

4. Early marriage

After 7, the fate of a girl entirely depends on the father. It's no secret that in this country, parents marry off their daughters in childhood, often before puberty. Naturally, as the husband is chosen by the parents, marrying someone for love is unheard of. Cases of early pregnancy and childbirth are very common there.

5. Higher education

Relax, women of Saudi Arabia can study at schools, universities, and even abroad. Of course, there are quite a few restrictions. But, surprisingly, there are more women with higher education than men in this state. Though, truth be told, the quality of education remains poor.

6. Family above all

According to the Sharia law, the family is the first priority for women. There are no laws forbidding them to go to work, but the traditions are above the law in this country. Therefore, there are only 17% of women having a job in Saudi Arabia.

7. The right to drive

Today, this ban is already going to be removed. Recently, the government has passed a number of laws to reduce social discrimination against females, at least in this matter. But it’s only possible to drive and receive the driver’s license with the consent of the guardian, as mentioned above, mahram.

8. Public transport

You would think that those who can’t get behind the wheel are allowed to take a bus? Sorry to disappoint you. It's easier to walk or to take a taxi. Almost all buses are banned, and as for a train – they arrange special cars for women.

9. Man’s and woman’s parts of the house

A woman can’t receive male guests. Her female friends have the right to visit only her half of the house, which is called the harem. If it is the husband who receives guests, the wife can’t enter into his part of the house. She communicates with him only by phone.

10. Gender segregation

It is not only the house which is divided. Public places, like beaches, trains, or cafés, are also divided. The space is divided into male and female zones as well.

11. Inequality before the law

The woman's testimony in court has much less power, and to file a lawsuit a woman needs 6 male witnesses! Besides, the judicial system often relies on the customs of different tribes, rather than on the law.

12. Violation of the law

Even the most innocent misconduct can be punished severely in this country. For example, if a woman was seen communicating with a stranger, she will be punished to the fullest extent of the law. The softest of punishments is lashes.

It is very hard for European, American, and women of other cultures to relate to women from the East, and vice versa. Everybody must be OK if nobody complains. Could you live according to Saudi Arabia rules? Let us know in the comments!