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There are different factors that have an impact on determining women’s rights in Saudi Arabia:

  • Religion: Islam affects all aspects of life in Saudi Arabia. The country’s Sunni Muslims, a very conservative interpretation of Islam. The ulema, religious authorities who have a great influence on the Saudi citizenry, are strongly against the equality of the sexes.[1]
  • Society: Societal norms and rules are patriarchal and women are treated and seen as second-class citizens only. Being a tribal community origin, males also have a clearly dominant role within the family and have full control over their wives or daughters. Females are expected to obey their male guardians.
  • Culture: The cultural setting of Saudi Arabia, promotes a strict Purdah system.
  • Government: The Saudi religious police, the Mutaween enforces rules of strict gender segregation in the Kingdom and unrelated men and women are separated in all public places.

As such, women continue to face discrimination in most areas of society. They have fewer rights than men in family matters; their freedom of movement is restricted; and their economic opportunities and rights are limited. Frequently, women’s actions and choices hinges on the permission or wishes of their mahram (i.e. husband or closest male family relative).


Gender policies

"I believe in equal right for everyone according to their circumstances....Women do have rights, but they are based on our view of their obligations in life." --Dr. Saleh al-Sheikh, the minister for Islamic affairs in Saudi Arabia [2]


Right to vote

- Women in Saudi Arabia were not allowed to vote in the country's municipal elections held in 2005[3], but they might be able to get a chance to in 2009.[4]


In Saudi culture, family ties are a priority and therefore a woman's primary role is believed to be raising children a taking care of the household. Most Saudi daughters are raised to believe that a woman's place is at home and a man's place is at workplace. In order to ensure that women give their full commitment to their primarily roles as mothers and wives, they have traditionally been marginalized in terms of working outside the house.[5]

The Saudi interpretation of Islamic rules, which is also the country's official legislation, does not ban women from employment. However, according to the rulings, that is subject to certain conditions. If they are met, it is permissible for a woman to go out for working, otherwise she must stay at home. These conditions include:

  • The woman should need to work in order to acquire money she needs.
  • The work should be suited to the woman's body natural physique and mentality.
  • The work should be in a place that is only for women, and there should be no interaction or mixing with non-mahram men such as she works in teaching girls, whether in administration or technical support, or she works as a nurse in a women's hospital. There are also women who work at home as seamstress sewing clothes for other women. Women are also allowed to work as journalists but they should work from home. Working in a mixed workplace is strictly prohibited [6]
  • When going to work, a woman should observe complete purdah which includes covering the face.
  • Her work should not lead to her traveling without a close male relative. This includes being alone with the driver.
  • Her work should not lead to her neglecting her household duties, such as cooking for her husband and children.
  • Women are allowed to work as long as their husbands or their male guardians approve of the work. A woman's work without the official permission of her guardian is considered illegal. [7][8][9][10]
  • It is not considered permissible for women to be appointed as judges[11] and positions of high public office are also reserved for men.[12]

Implementation of a resolution supporting expanded employment opportunities for women met resistance from within the labor ministry, and from the conservative Saudi citizenry.[13] These institutions and individuals generally claim that according to Sharia, a woman's work outside the house is against her fitrah (natural state).

The Saudi Labor Ministry has also been inconsistent in its support for resolutions promoting women's right to work. In 2006, Minister Dr. Ghazi Al-Qusaibi commented: "the [Labor] Ministry is not acting to [promote] women's employment since the best place for a woman to serve is in her own home" He went on to say:[13]

therefore no woman will be employed without the explicit consent of her guardian. We will also make sure that the [woman's] job will not interfere with her work at home with her family, or with her eternal duty of raising her children...

Women in Saudi Arabia make up just 5% of the workforce, which is the lowest proportion the world. [13]


Elementary education

Traditionally, only male children were permitted to go to school and females were deprived of official education. When, in 1968, the first girls’ public elementary school for girls was founded in Mecca , many of the ulema objected arguing that girls must stay at home to fulfil their duties. Initially, opening schools for girls met with strong opposition in some parts of the kingdom, where nonreligious education was viewed as useless, if not actually dangerous, for girls. This attitude was reflected in the ratio of school-age boys to girls in primary school enrollments: in 1969, only 2 percent of girls were enrolled at school

However, the goal of female education as stated in official policy was ideologically tied to religion, so that the ulema and the religious citizens would not disagree: "the purpose of educating a girl is to bring her up in a proper Islamic way so as to perform her duty in life, be an ideal and successful housewife and a good mother, ready to do things which suit her nature."[14] Therefore, female education was delivered under religious doctrine. Basically, a woman or a group of women would educate the girls on specific subjects such as the Quran and the Hadith as well as the principles of writing and reading. Girls' education was administered by the Directorate General of Girls' Education, an organization staffed by ulama, working in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education.

Education in Saudi Arabia is sex-segregated at all levels, ensuring that females and males do not attend the same school. Moreover, male teachers are not permitted to teach or work at girls' schools and women are not allowed to teach male children.[15] The education system treats the sexes differently due to their societal expectations. Males and females are directed into different subjects. Males are taught about physical education and technical skills, while females are mainly taught about their future role as housewives or mothers.[16] Religious education is directly dictated by Wahabi beliefs which teaches girls about the importance of purdah and veiling.

In some subjects, such as Arabic and mathematics, the annual examinations are the same for girls and boys.[17]

Higher education

Inequalities of opportunity exists in higher education that stems from the religious and social imperative of gender segregation. In Saudi Arabia, gender segregation is required at all levels including tertiary education.Because the social perception was that men would put the knowledge and skills acquired to productive use, fewer resources were dedicated to women's higher education than to men's. Women are excluded from studying engineering, pharmacy, architecture, law and other subjects that are officially to be reserved for men.[18]

The shortage of public and private universities for women has caused a large number of young single women to stay at home.

Male lecturers are not allowed to lecture at women's classes. Therefore, as there are few female lecturers, in some universities, the videoconferencing method allows instruction without the male teacher and the female students ever meeting face-to-face.[19]

Women in Saudi Arabia do not have easy access to transportation, therefore, distance education(from home)is popular among Saudi women.[20]

Dress code

A young Saudi woman wearing a traditional hijab.

Wearing the hijab is enforced on Muslims in Saudi Arabia. All women are required, by both law and tradition, to wear a full black cloak, called an abaya. The mutawwa, particularly active in Riadh, Buraydah and Tabuk, can arrest women who do not wear the full hijab.

The presence of the mutawwa is not the only reason Saudi women veil. Saudis follow the Wahhabi sect of Islam, which is a strictly orthodox Islamic sect and therefore on this front, they take an extreme level of conservatism.

Wahhabi scholars hold that among non-related men, women are obliged by the Shariah to cover their entire body, including their faces and their hands. Therefore, Salafi women in Saudi Arabia, wear the niqab because they believe that the face of a woman is considered awrah. (Awrah denotes the parts of the body that are not meant to be exposed in public)[21] [22][23][24]

Many Saudi women who wear the niqab do this on their free will as wearing it is a claim to respectability and Islamic piety, and some conservatives tend to support the kingdom's purdah system against the erosion of traditional values.[25]

The Saudi niqāb usually leaves a long open slot for the eyes; the slot is held together by a string or narrow strip of cloth.[26] Many also have two or more sheer layers attached to the upper band, which can be worn flipped down to cover the eyes. Although a person looking at a woman wearing a niqab with an eyeveil would not be able to see her eyes, she is able to see out through the thin fabric. In 2008, the religious authority in Mecca, Mohammad Habadan called on women to wear veils that reveal only one eye, so that women would not be encouraged to use eye make-up.[27]

According to Saudi Arabia's Shariah law, women's clothing should also meet the following conditions:

  • Women must cover their entire body, including the face and the hands but they are allowed to expose one or both eyes in necessity.
  • Women must wear an abaya(a black long robe that covers the body from head to toe) and their garments should be thick and opaque, not revealing what is underneath.
  • The clothes underneath, and the abaya should be loose fitting.
  • Women should not wear bright coloured clothes or clothes that are adorned so that they may attract men’s attention.
  • Women’s dress should not look like the clothing of men or the clothing of non-Muslims.



Women’s freedom of movement is strongly limited in Saudi Arabia. They are not supposed to leave their houses or their local neighbourhood without the company of their mahram (close male relative), nor shall they be in contact with unrelated males. Furthermore, mosques, most ministries and public streets are reserved for men. Similarly, women do not have access to most of the parks, museums and libraries.[29]


Most scholars and religious authorities have declared it haram (forbidden) for women to drive cars.[30] The reasons women are forbidden to drive in Saudi are declared to be:(quote):[31]

  1. Driving a car involves uncovering the face which is considered obligatory for women to cover in Saudi.
  2. Driving a car may lead women to go out of house more often.
  3. Driving a car may lead women to have interaction with non-mahram males, i.e., they can be stopped by policemen at the scenes of traffic infractions.
  4. Women driving cars may lead to overcrowding the streets and many young men may be deprived of the opportunity to drive.[32]

It is also forbidden for women to ride bicycles and motorbikes. [33]

Public transportation

In Saudi Arabia, it is forbidden for women to be alone in a car with a non-mahram man, as it is considered khalwa, a religious and cultural crime. [34]

Segregated bus services are introduced in Riadh [35][36] with women riding in the back and entering the bus through a separate door. Usually there is a barrier in between; however women should remain fully covered while in bus. In other cities, there are separate buses and trains for men and women. Women are not allowed to ride inter-city buses and trains unless they are accompanied by a close male relative. [37]

Sex segregation

Sex segregation has always been an important part of Saudi Arabia’s culture and society. Saudi customs sharply separates the world of men from the world of women. Most Saudi homes have one entrance for men and another for women. Private space called hujra were associated with women while the public space was reserved for men. Traditional middle-eastern house designs used high walls and inner rooms to protect the family and particularly women from the public. Not only are all offices, schools, universities and libraries segregated, but also women in Saudi must have a husband or close male relative as an escort while going out of their houses. The kingdom's sexual segregation laws are enforced by the religious police, the Mutawa.

Segregation of public places such as beaches, swimming pools, schools, libraries, cafes, restaurants, hairdressers ,sport halls, museums and even certain streets was ordered and legally introduced. According to the law, there should be separate sections for the sexes at all meetings including weddings and funerals. Saudi banks are so segregated that only female auditors examine women's accounts(Women are not to enter other Saudi banks unless they are accompanied by their husbands and they also cannot maintain separate bank accounts in Saudi Arabia without their husbands' permission)

Sex segregation is also prevalent in health centres. In Saudi Arabia, a male doctor is not allowed to treat a female patient, unless there are no female specialists available; and it is also not permissible for women to be treated by men[36] A woman is also not allowed to meet her spouse unveiled until after the wedding. Saudi daughters are encouraged to wear the niqab in public. [37]


Most restaurants in Saudi Arabia have "family" and "male-only" sections. The family section is the place where women must sit accompanied by their husbands or fathers. All family-restaurants in Saudi Arabia bar entrance to women who come without their husbands or close male relatives.[38]

Many other restaurants that do not have a family section would not serve women. On the other hand, some places in Riadh are open only to women as a compensation for those places where women are prohibited.

Religious Saudis believe it is forbidden for a woman to eat in public, as part of her face would be exposed, therefore in most restaurants barriers are present to conceal women. Families have to sit inside a compartmant, so that they are unable to see,or to be seen by, the other families. Because women are barred from working as waitresses, the staff is male. To give women time to cover up properly before the waiters enter an enclosure, waiters are required to ask for permission. [39]

Though going to restaurants has remained foreign to the conservative Muslim society in Saudi Arabia, Muhammad Salih Al Munajjid has declared it haraam for women to eat in restaurants, even if there are divisions at between the family tables.[40]

Western companies cooperate in enforcing Saudi religious regulations in restaurants. McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, and other US firms, for instance, maintain strictly sex-segregated eating zones in their restaurants.

Legal issues

Identity cards

Women in Saudi Arabia are registered on their father or husbands' identification card. In 2006, Saudi Arabia's government announced its intention to issue, for the first time, independent identification cards for women.[41]

The Ulema, Saudi's religious authorities oppose the idea of issuing separate identity cards for women. Many other conservative Saudi citizens argue that cards, which show a woman's unveiled face, violate the Shariah and the Saudi custom.[42]

Currently, only 2000 Saudi women have applied for and received their cards. Most women of religious family background refuse to do so.[43]

Proponents are modernists who argue that new female identity cards would enable a woman to carry out her activities with ease and also to prevent forgeries committed in the name of women in the absence of identification.

Prior to 2008, women were not allowed to enter hotels and furnished apartments when unaccompanied mahram. With a 2008 Royal Decree, however, the only requirement needed to allow women to enter hotels are their national identification cards, and the hotel must inform the nearest police station of their room reservation and length of stay.[44]

Women’s testimony

In the legal system, women face discrimination. An example of this is the requirements for testifying in criminal proceedings; The witness must be deemed sane, the age of an adult, and a Muslim. Non-Muslims may not testify in criminal court. Women may not testify unless it is a personal matter that did not occur in the sight of men. The testimony of a woman is not regarded as fact but as presumption. The reasons women are forbidden to testify in proceedings are (quote):[45][46]

  1. Women are much more emotional than men and will, as a result of their emotions, distort their testimony.
  2. Women do not participate in public life, so they will not be capable of understanding what they observe.
  3. Women are forgetful, and their testimony cannot be considered reliable.

As a result of these laws women are particularly vulnerable in cases of assault and/or rape, as their testimony is treated as a presumption, while that of their attackers is accepted as fact. In some cases, victims of sexual assault are punished on the grounds that they should not be alone with unrelated males. It happened recently when a female victim of a gang rape was sentenced by a Saudi court to six months in prison and 200 lashes for violating laws on segregation of the sexes, as she was in an unrelated man's car at the time of the attack.[47] This case attracted the attention of the UN which expressed its concerns regarding the social attitudes and the system of male guardianship which deter women from reporting crimes and lead to a patriarchal system. Women are therefore prevented from escaping abusive environments because of their lack of autonomy and economic independence, practices surrounding divorce and child custody, the absence of a law criminalizing violence against women, and inconsistencies in the application of laws and procedures.[48]

Family code

Child marriages

In 2005, the country’s religious authority banned the practice of forced marriage. However, practically, girls are not involved in making decisions surrounding their own marriages. The marriage contract is officially between the husband-to-be and the father of the bride.

There are no laws defining the minimum age for marriage in Saudi. Most religious authorities have justified the marriage of girls as young as 9 and boys as young as 15.[4] However, they believe a father can marry off her daughter at any age as long as sexual intercourse is delayed until she reaches puberty.[5]

The widespread prevalence of child marriage in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been documented by human rights groups [6] [7]


Polygamy is legal in Saudi Arabia. Saudi men may take as many as four wives, provided that they can support all wives equally. Polygamy has been reported to be widespread throughout the entire country. [49]

Parental authority

In the area of parental authority, legally, children belong to their father who has sole guardianship. If a divorce takes place, women may be granted custody of their young children until they reach the age of seven.Older children are often awarded to the father or the paternal grandparents.

Saudi women cannot marry non-Saudi men unless they obtain official permission. They cannot also confer citizenship to children born to a non-Saudi Arabian father.[50]

Inheritance issues

The inheritance share of women in Saudi is generally smaller than that to which men are entitled. Some women are also deprived of their entitled share as they are considered to be dependents of their fathers or husbands.[51]

Violence against women

Domestic violence is common and there are no specific laws addressing the issue, nor any adequate protection for the victims. Incidents of domestic violence are rarely reported or even talked about publicly.

According to Arab beliefs, woman is a symbol of man's honor (Namus) and it is the duty of the male guardian to protect his honor. So-called honour crimes, whereby a woman is punished or even killed by male family members for having put “shame” on the family honour, are also prevalent. The suspicion alone of a woman’s wrong-doing is often enough for her to be subject to violence in the name of honour. Migrant women (Saudi Arabia has a large expatriate population), often working as domestic helpers, represent a particularly vulnerable group and their living conditions are sometimes slave-like and include physical suppression.

Women, as well as men, may be subject to harassment by the country’s religious police, the mutawwain; torture and physical punishments, often without having their case presented in court.[52]

International Criticism

The state of women's rights in Saudi Arabia has been likened by many to a system of apartheid, analogous to South Africa's treatment of non-whites during South Africa's apartheid era.[53][54][55] Those who use this analogy argue that Saudi Arabia has a system of control including separate schools, inequities in legal rights, unequal access to property and jobs, and restrictions on freedom of movement imposed only on women.[56][57][58][59]

Human Rights Watch (HRW) states that the government misrepresents practice regarding women's rights. A July 2009 report states:[60]

Saudi officials continue to require women to obtain permission from male guardians to conduct their most basic affairs, like traveling or receiving medical care, despite government assertions that no such requirements exist....The government made its assertions most recently in June 2009, to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva....Saudi doctors have confirmed that Health Ministry regulations still require a woman to obtain permission from her male guardian to undergo elective surgery. In late June, Saudi border guards at the Bahrain crossing refused to allow the renowned women's rights activist Wajeha al-Huwaider to leave the country because she did not have her guardian's permission, al-Huwaider told Human Rights Watch....

"The Saudi government is saying one thing to the Human Rights Council in Geneva but doing another thing inside the kingdom," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

Critics have referred to Saudi Arabia's practices with respect to women as "gender apartheid",[61]

According to investigative reporter Jan Goodwin, this issue is serious enough to warrant attention from the international human rights community.[62] Others criticize U.S. government words of support for the plight women and children in Afghanistan as a "cynical public relations ploy", arguing that the Bush administration has remained silent about the gender apartheid practiced by Saudi Arabia.[63]

Rita Henley Jensen, editor-in-chief of Women's eNews travelled to Saudi Arabia in 2005. She reported[64]:

...[women] have the right to own property, transact business, go to school and be supported by their husbands, while maintaining their separate bank accounts....Women on Saudi soil must have a husband or male relative as an escort. We are not allowed to drive. When sight-seeing we must wear a full-length black gown known as an abaya. During Saudi Arabia's first elections, held the week before my arrival, women were not permitted to vote or run for office.

She states that hotels have no female employees, and that segregated eating areas in hotels and beaches for women have poorer facilities. She also criticizes Saudi law for setting female inheritance at half of what men inherit (see Female inheritance in Islam). Ann Elizabeth Mayer sees gender apartheid as being enshrined in the Saudi Basic Law, particularly articles 9 and 10, which, in her view, deny women "any opportunity to participate in public law or government".[65] Though Mary Kaldor does not differentiate between gender apartheid in Saudi Arabia and that enforced by the Taliban in Afghanistan,[66] Margaret L. Andersen and Howard Francis Taylor see strictures such as the Saudi refusal to let women drive as indicative of a less extreme form of gender apartheid.[67] Daniel Pipes, too, sees Saudi gender apartheid as tempered by other practices, including the Saudi policy of allowing women "to attend school and work".[68]

Andrea Dworkin refers to these Saudi practices regarding women simply as "apartheid":

Seductive mirages of progress notwithstanding, nowhere in the world is apartheid practiced with more cruelty and finality than in Saudi Arabia. Of course, it is women who are locked in and kept out, exiled to invisibility and abject powerlessness within their own country. It is women who are degraded systematically from birth to early death, utterly and totally and without exception deprived of freedom. It is women who are sold into marriage or concubinage, often before puberty; killed if their hymens are not intact on the wedding night; kept confined, ignorant, pregnant, poor, without choice or recourse. It is women who are raped and beaten with full sanction of the law. It is women who cannot own property or work for a living or determine in any way the circumstances of their own lives. It is women who are subject to a despotism that knows no restraint. Women locked out and locked in.[69]

Others refer to these practices as "sexual apartheid".[70][71] Colbert I. King quotes an American official who accuses Western companies of complicity in Saudi Arabia's sexual apartheid:

One of the (still) untold stories, however, is the cooperation of U.S. and other Western companies in enforcing sexual apartheid in Saudi Arabia. McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, and other U.S. firms, for instance, maintain strictly segregated eating zones in their restaurants. The men's sections are typically lavish, comfortable and up to Western standards, whereas the women's or families' sections are often run-down, neglected and, in the case of Starbucks, have no seats. Worse, these firms will bar entrance to Western women who show up without their husbands. My wife and other [U.S. government affiliated] women were regularly forbidden entrance to the local McDonald's unless there was a man with them." [38]

Azar Majedi, of the Centre for Women and Socialism, attributes sexual apartheid in Saudi Arabia to political Islam.[72] According to The Guardian, "[i]n the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, sexual apartheid rules", and this sexual apartheid is enforced by mutawa, religious police, though not as strongly in some areas:

The kingdom's sexual apartheid is enforced, in a crude fashion, by the religious police, the mutawa. Thuggish, bigoted and with little real training in Islamic law, they are much feared in some areas but also increasingly ridiculed. In Jeddah - a more laid-back city than Riyadh - they are rarely seen nowadays.[73]

Calls for reform

Local and international women's groups are pushing governments for reform, taking advantage of the fact that some rulers are eager to project a more progressive image to the West. The presence of powerful businesswomen—still a rare breed—in some of these groups helps get them heard.[47]

Advocates for the right of women to drive in Saudi Arabia - the only country in the world that prohibits female drivers – collected more than 3,000 signatures in 2008 hoping that the driving ban would also be lifted by King Abdullah. But skepticism is common about Saudi Arabia's deeply religious and patriarchal society, where many believe that allowing women the right to drive could lead to Western-style openness and an erosion of traditional values.[74]

In a 2005 episode of 60 Minutes an anonymous female graduate student commented:[2]

I like to drive. Here, the woman cannot drive. And I like here to have a cinema...a movie....I like to be free. All people want to be free.


According to the CIA world factbook, 70.8% of females are literate, in comparison to 84.7% literacy rates in males.[75]

Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries in the 2008 Olympics without a female delegation - women's sports are, in principle, banned, although some teams do exist.[76]

See also


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  2. ^ a b;contentBody
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  4. ^
  5. ^ Hanaa Balaa, Behind the closed doors of Saudi harems, page 6
  6. ^ Al-Mara Al-Amila (Makkah Al Mukarramah), September 23, 1998
  7. ^ Fataawa al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah, Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, (Makkah Al Mukarramah),1998, 2/981
  8. ^ Mohammad Salih Al-Munajjid (March 7, 2008). "". Women's e-news. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  9. ^ Handrahan, L. M. (August 1996), (PDF)Al-Ghatib-lil-Mar'ah 8 (1),,%20Volume%208,%20No.%201,%202001.pdf, retrieved 2007-08-21 
  10. ^ Andrea Dworkin (1978). "Letters from a War Zone: Writing 1976-1989". Andrea Dworkin on Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  11. ^ Mohammad Salih Al-Munajjid (March 7, 2008). "Women as Judges". IslamQA. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  12. ^ Mohammad Salih Al-Munajjid (March 7, 2008). "Ruling on appointing women to positions of high public office". IslamQA. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  13. ^ a b c Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 23, 2006, translated at Public Debate in Saudi Arabia on Employment Opportunities for Women
  14. ^ Education in Saudi Arabia
  15. ^ Roula Baki (June 7, 2004). "Gender-Segregated Education in Saudi Arabia:". Baki. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  16. ^ Education for girls
  17. ^ Ministry of Education (March 7, 2008). "Education for Girls in Saudi Arabia". Ministry of Education. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  18. ^ Women's education in Saudi Arabia
  19. ^ Nakshabandi,1993
  20. ^ Mackey,Sandra.(2009) The Saudis: Inside the Desert Kingdom.New York
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  22. ^ Abdullah Atif Samih (March 7, 2008). "Do women have to wear niqaab?". Islam Q&A. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  23. ^ Munajjid (March 7, 2008). "Shar’i description of hijab and niqaab". Islam Q&A. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
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  25. ^ Saudi Women Rise in Defense of the Veil
  26. ^ Moqtasami (1979), pp. 41-44
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  35. ^ Rahiq al-Mara pg.33
  36. ^ a b Haghian (1988).
  37. ^ a b McNeill (2000), p. 271.
  38. ^ a b King (2001).
  39. ^ No smiling service for female diners in Saudi eateries
  40. ^ "Family restaurants". Islam Q&A. 3 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  41. ^ Arab women
  42. ^ Saudi women get identity cards
  43. ^ Shahidi Sadiq, Women in Saudi Arabia, pg 33
  44. ^ Jomar Canlas, Reporter (January 25, 2008), Saudi prince assures RP govt they respect rights of women, The Manila Times,, retrieved 2008-01-25 
  45. ^ "Saudi Arabian Government and Law". 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  46. ^ "Islam, women, and Saudi Arabian society". 2002. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  47. ^ a b "Women in the Middle East, A weak breeze of change". The Economist. February 2, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-26. 
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  49. ^ Saudi Arabia
  50. ^ Saudi Arabia
  51. ^ Sumayyah Biqlan, pg 24
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  53. ^ Jessica Renee Long (March 78, 2005). "Taking the Gender Apartheid Tour in Saudi Arabia". Women's e-news. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  54. ^ Handrahan, L. M. (August 2001), (PDF)Human Rights tribune 8 (1),,%20Volume%208,%20No.%201,%202001.pdf, retrieved 2007-08-21 
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  56. ^ Mona Eltahawy, Punished for being raped, November 29, 2007, International Herald Tribune [1]
  57. ^ Anne Appelbaum, The Wahhabi Woman ProblemWhy no campaigns against Saudi Arabia's institutionalized sexism? Slate, Dec. 17, 2007 [2]
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  62. ^ "In 'From the Valley of the Chador,' Jan Goodwin (1994) discusses 'gender apartheid' in Saudi Arabia, unmasking a phenomenon that, she argues, has long been thought of as a 'personal problem' and revealing it to be a political issue that deserves attention from the international human rights community." Hanigsberg (1997), p. 76.
  63. ^ "Sharon Smith, among others, has labeled such support a cynical public relations ploy. She cites… the U.S. government's silence over gender apartheid practices by allies such as Saudi Arabia." Hesford and Kozol (2005), p. 3.
  64. ^
  65. ^ "Taken together, these suggest an intention to employ appeals to Saudi family values and premodern Islamic law in order to maintain the traditional patriarchial family structure and to keep women subordinated and cloistered within its confines, denied any opportunity to participate in public life or government. In other words, the Basic Law accommodates the Saudi system of gender apartheid". Mayer (1999), p. 122.
  66. ^ "Islamic groups insist that women wear veils and, in some cases, the best known being the Taliban in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia, they introduce what is essentially a form of gender apartheid". Kaldor (2003), p. 183.
  67. ^ "Gender apartheid is also evident in other nations, although not so extreme as it was under Taliban rule. But, in Saudi Arabia women are not allowed to drive; in Kuwait, they cannot vote." Andersen, Margaret L. & Taylor Howard Francis (2006) p. 316.
  68. ^ "Yes, the Saudi state deems the Koran to be its constitution, forbids the practice of any religion but Islam on its territory, employs an intolerant religious police, and imposes gender apartheid. But it also enacts non-Koranic regulations, employs large numbers of non-Muslims, constrains the religious police, and allows women to attend school and work." Pipes (2003), p. 63.
  69. ^ Dworkin (1993).
  70. ^ "The end result of this is that Saudi men have no opportunity to learn how to interact in a non-sexual way with women and so the system of sexual apartheid persists (Whitaker 2006)." Bradley (2007), p. 130.
  71. ^ Stromquist (2002), p. 148
  72. ^ "Women are the first victims of political Islam and Islamic terrorist gangs. Sexual apartheid, stoning, compulsory Islamic veil and covering and stripping women of all rights are the fruits of this reactionary and fascistic movement." Majedi (2002).
  73. ^ Whitaker (2006).
  74. ^ "Saudi Women See a Brighter Road on Rights". The Washington Post. January 31, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-26. 
  75. ^ "CIA The World Factbook, Saudi Arabia". CIA. September 20, 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  76. ^ "Saudi women jump through many hoops for basketball team". Christian Science Monitor. 
  • Saidi, Moqtasami R. (2000). Hijab in the Muslim World. Darul Iman. ISBN 1860644333. 

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