Current Magazine

If Not a Seat in Parliament, Then a Seat Behind the Wheel

Posted on the 21 June 2011 by Center For International Private Enterprise @CIPEglobal
If not a seat in parliament, then a seat behind the wheel

(Photo via Flickr)

While CIPE is currently holding its conference Democracy That Delivers for Women, the hurdles women face in the Middle East and beyond remain staggeringly high. 

After a bright picture of Arab women leading many demonstrations in the Arab spring and protesting shoulder to shoulder with men for democracy, justice and accountability, their case remains controversial in light of prevailing notions of the roles of men and women in Arab countries.  

Yet in countries like Saudi Arabia, where the wind of change wasn’t excepted to blow, Saudi women have mounted a campaign against the unwritten but heavily enforced ban on Saudi women driving.

The recent campaign gained traction when a 32-year old Saudi woman was imprisoned for defying this unwritten law. Shortly after, thousands of messages and tweets were fired off in solidarity with Manal Elasharif on Saudi Arabia’s virtual –and only – venue of free expression, the world wide web. Although Amnesty International announced that Manal had been released, it was only on condition that she remove herself from the ongoing campaign for women to drive cars.

Despite the fact that economic empowerment has been considered  a backbone for women’s empowerment, wealthy women in Saudi Arabia– whose wealth depends on natural resources and other rents -have displayed  little inclination to seek democracy as a fundamental step towards gender equality and justice.

Due to the wide  variety in the nature of regime structure, socioeconomic factors, and ethnic and religious cleavages, it is not yet clear in what direction the winds of change sweeping the region will continue to blow. Yet in the case of Saudi Arabia, there was at least one early indicator that the country’s women are ready to begin reversing the ingrained discrimination which dictate what society permits them to do.

In Kuwait in 2009 women achieved  a historic milestone by winning their first seats in parliament. Their victory had a great influence on Saudi women, who share many cultural norms and dreams of greater opportunities. While Saudi women may not be close to winning seats in parliament, they are at least close to taking their seats behind the steering wheel.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Book Review The Almanac A Seasonal Guide to 2019

    Book Review Almanac Seasonal Guide 2019

    The Almanac - A Seasonal Guide to 2019 by Lia Leendertz, when I started to read this little book of loveliness I realised it was not a book you read and put dow... Read more

    The 09 December 2018 by   Angela
    FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES
  • Savory Vegan Succotash

    Savory Vegan Succotash

    Sufferin’ Vegan Succotash!  Look what we have here! That’s right! Succotash is a real THING and not just something a funny cartoon character says. Bonus points... Read more

    The 09 December 2018 by   Chuck Underwood
    FOOD & DRINK, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, LIFESTYLE, VEGETARIAN & VEGAN
  • Metabolic Health and Nutrition Conference – Part 3

    Metabolic Health Nutrition Conference Part

    I earlier this year attended a conference in Seattle, WA, (USA) titled " Metabolic Health and Nutrition Across the Life Span." The headlining presenters were Dr... Read more

    The 09 December 2018 by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • "If" Then, and "If" Now

    "If" Then,

    By Elizabeth PrataAmy Carmichael was a missionary to India, arriving in 1895 to Dohnavur, just 30 miles from India's southern tip. Once in South India she... Read more

    The 09 December 2018 by   Elizabethprata
    SOCIETY, SPIRITUALITY
  • Airbus A330-200, Thomas Cook Airlines

    Airbus A330-200, Thomas Cook Airlines

    @ San Francisco International Airport, CA October 2018 Starting in May 2017, Thomas Cook began operating two flights per week between SFO and Manchester, UK... Read more

    The 09 December 2018 by   Htam
    PHOTOGRAPHY, SOCIETY
  • Caroling Party

    Caroling Party

    Last night we hosted our fourth annual caroling party. I'm not a big Christmas gift-giving person, so our gift to everyone is doughnuts, hot chocolate, hot... Read more

    The 09 December 2018 by   Sherwoods
    FAMILY, PARENTING
  • Struggling to Afford Insulin

    Struggling Afford Insulin

    People who need insulin for their type 1 or type 2 diabetes are skimping on the shots because the drug has become so expensive. A study this week in the... Read more

    The 09 December 2018 by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE