Rights of women in Saudi Arabia

Posted by Winniem on November 12th, 2018


            The rights of women in Saudi Arabia continue to be limited when compared to many neighboring countries. As a result, the World Economic Forum on Global Gender Gap Report placed Saudi Arabia in position 127th out of 136 nations for gender parity. Every woman, irrespective of age faces some limits on their rights that are enjoyed by men. Saudi Arabia remains the only country prohibiting women to many extreme cases. As a consequence, Saudi women only compose 13% of the native workforce as of last year.  Most conservative Saudi female, unfortunately, does not support untying the cultural gender roles as well as restriction. At the base,   Saudi Arabia is near to ideal as well as a pure Islamic nation. Among some factors defining women rights in this country are, the Hanbali, Wahhabi doctrine of Sunni Islam, government laws as well as the traditional culture of the Arabian Peninsula. Hence, all these factors work together to infringe some rights on women.

Sex segregation

            In Saudi Arabia, women are Sexual segregated. The situation keeps wives, sisters as well as daughters from contacting stranger males. This position emanates from extreme concern for purity as well a family honor. Social events remain greatly predicated on separation of women and men. The intermixing of non-kin men and women at social places remain rare as well as limited even in educated families (Wynbrandt, 2010). Women observed socializing with men who are not relatives, can end up being harassed by mutaween. Such women can also get charged with adultery, fornication as well as prostitution. Many homes in Saudi have an entrance for men as well as another one for women. For any non-related male to access the female location in Saudi homes violates family honor. This country secludes some sections in the house to be Haram, meaning forbidden and sacred. Private places remain for women while public places like the living room get reserved for men. Additionally, Traditional abode designs use high walls with compartmentalized rooms as well as curtains to protect families and specifically females from the public.

Rights on Mobility

            In Saudi Arabia, Women have to present the signed permit from a mahram who can be close male relative, husband, son or even a grandson prior becoming free to travel outside as well as inside Saudi Arabia.  In Saudi Arabia, women are also prohibited though the situation remains tolerated in some rural parts livelihood depends on it and from the fact that the mutaween never make effectively patrols. Saudi has no written prohibition on female driving, but Saudi law demands people to use locally given licenses in the country. Unfortunately, these licenses remain not issued to the women. This situation makes it effectively out of the law for the women to drive. Similarly, many Saudi scholars, as well as religious institutions, continue to declare driving among women as Haram.  The common reasons given for prohibition on driving among women include; driving a car forces women to uncover the face, it may lead going  out of the house often and that it may promote  interaction with non-mahram men, for instance at traffic situation (Sasson, 2012). It gets also asserted that women are driving leads to overcrowding at the streets and that many young males may lose the opportunity to drive. The Saudi culture also believes that allowing women to drive is the genesis in the erosion of cultural values like gender segregation.

 Wearing Clothes or Make-Up that that Show off Women Beauty

            In Saudi Arabia, women dress code remains strictly governed by the strict Islamic law interpretation. Similarly, it remains enforced to varying level in the country. Many women get forced to put on an abaya or the long black cloak as well as a scarf on the head.  It remains the tradition despite the fact that the face necessarily not needs to get covered (Wynbrandt, 2010). Despite this, religious police continue harassing women whenever they expose much flesh or put on a lot of makeup. This women dress code became extended to every female presenter working in media houses on the eve of this year. Saudi king's advisory team, the Shoura, passed that women must put on modes attires that limits were showing off the beauty.  Hence, Saudi Arabia remains one of the countries that cannot allow women to put on clothes the way they want.

Family Code

            Saudi religious authority prohibited forced marriage; however, marriage contract remains officially between a husband-to-be and the father to the bride. No woman is allowed to marry any non-Saudi citizen in the absence of official permission. Similarly, women have no right to the number of wives the husband can have. Polyandry remains forbidden as well as sinful. Violence directed at women in homes remain seen as non-criminal in many parts of the country. Similarly,   no laws in Saudi define the least age for marriage (Wynbrandt, 2010). Many religious institutions continue to justify marriage of young girls even of nine years.  The Saudi culture believes that fathers have the freedom to marry off their daughters at any age so long as consummation gets delayed until the girl reaches her puberty.  This situation limits the right of women in making choices in marriage.

 Parental Authority

            When it comes to parental authority situation, legally, all children belong to the father who remains the only guardianship. In the event of divorce, women get an allowance to have custody over the child until seven years. Older ones are always given to the father or paternal grandparents. Similarly, Women are not allowed to confer citizenship to any child born to any non-Saudi Arabian male. This situation presents the limitations that Saudi women face when it comes on the rights over children.

Inheritance Issues

In Saudi, inheritance share among women remain generally smaller as compared to what men get entitled. The Quran says that daughters need to inherit half what sons get. In many situations areas, many women get deprived of the entitled share since they get considered as dependents of fathers as well as husbands (Engineer, 2008).  Intertribal marriages also ground limits on women's inheritance. Hence, inheritance presents great limits on women. All the limits on the rights of women in Saudi place women at a place of disadvantage.


            To conclude, women in Saudi remain victims of the dictates of cultural, religious as well as political definitions. The traditional pressures place women at situations where they do not enjoy the rights enjoyed by male counterparts. Similarly, it is only in the recent that women were allowed to have national identity cards. Similarly, it is in the recent that women were allowed to vote and take political positions. These right limitations put Saudi women not to compete favorably with men in all aspect of society. Hence, there is a need to promote Saudi women rights, particularly in economic and political line.


Engineer, A. A. (2008): The rights of women in Islam. New Delhi [India: Sterling

Sasson, J. P. (2012): American chick in Saudi Arabia: A memoir.

Wynbrandt, J. (2010): A brief history of Saudi Arabia. New York, NY: Facts on File.

Sherry Roberts is the author of this paper. A senior editor at MeldaResearch.Com in legit research paper writing services if you need a similar paper you can place your order for research essay writing services.

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