Saudi women granted right to back-seat drive
In a move that has stunned the international community, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has announced that from 2026, women will be given the same freedom to criticise their male drivers as their Western counterparts.
‘We refuse to marginalise women in all roles that comply with sharia,’ said the King, who hadn’t previously been aware of the parking restrictions in the Shura Council car park, that his ticket was due to expire any minute and just how close he was to the car behind. ‘We want all women to know that their contribution is valued – especially if they nudge us the nanosecond the light turns green, or by alerting us to otherwise invisible cyclists.’
The raft of reforming measures, which also included the rights to safeguard the house keys, load the dishwasher by personal preference and opine on sporting fixtures regardless of knowledge or experience, has been cautiously welcomed by the feminist community.
‘It’s high time that an archaic Saudi Arabia caught up with the rest of the world and realised that women have every right to fiddle with the air conditioning, question the chosen route and listen to the radio station of their choice,’ said Adriana McCoy, chairperson of international woman’s group Women Against Passenger Suppression. ‘We’re a long way from our Saudi sisters getting the freedoms and respect they deserve, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Although it would have been if women had been allowed to organise it.’
But not everyone was as enthusiastic about the radical changes, with a poll stating that 97% of respondents agreed that their wives should not hold political office. ‘Women were not created equal, and we should embrace the traditional roles that Allah has blessed us with,’ said one anonymous woman who didn’t wish to be emancipated. ‘But that said, even He must have seen that if my Saleh was doing 30 in that built-up zone near the market last Tuesday, then I’m a Latvian pole-dancer.’Click to send this story to a friend
Posted: Sep 26th, 2011 by Mary Evans