Women's Rights: Saudi Arabia Essay

2606 words - 10 pages

What are rights? Rights are things that a person is or should be morally or legally allowed to have, get, or do; we know a lot about rights in the United States. For many centuries Americans have felt strongly about their rights and we have spent centuries fighting for them. An example of this would be the African Americans in America; brought to the United States as slaves to mend the fields of southern farmers, African Americans had little to no rights in the still newly formed country. Yet, after the United States Civil War blacks would gain there freedom with the adding of the 13th amendment, which officially abolished slavery, the 14th amendment, which declared all persons born in the United States or naturalized in the United States are American citizens including African Americans and the 15th Amendments, which allows all males 21 and over to vote regardless of race. Though it may not seem like a lot today, it was more then any black living in America could hope for and rights that only some could even hope for today. There are still countries today that live as the African Americans did for nearly two centuries, I don’t mean as slaves, but with the rights of slaves before the Civil War. Women in Saudi Arabia are a prime example of living in today’s world with little rights and others who could care less how they are treated because they have no rights. A woman having no rights in Saudi Arabia is nothing new to their society or culture; it is something that has been practiced for many centuries. Considering the long history of women having no say in their way of living in Saudi Arabia they have slowly been gaining more rights but still have a long ways to go.
Women exclusion from life in Saudi Arabia has for a long time been a heated debate not only among Muslims but world wide. The understanding of socio-economic and the cultural history of Saudi Arabia are important aspects in understanding a woman’s role in society. Saudi Arabia is a country in Southeast Asia with a population of approximately 19 million, established in 1932 by King AbdulAziz Ibn AbdulRahman Al Saud. Arabic is the official language and Islam the official religion. According to the 1992 census, 4.6 million of Saudi Arabian residents were foreign workers, which can be assumed this why in Saudi Arabia women only constitute for seven per cent of the work force in 1990 and four per cent in 2003. The Saudi literacy rate in 1970, when compared to the literacy rates of the Middle East and North Africa, was 15 per cent for men and two per cent for women. This rate was the lowest in these regions, with only Yemen and Afghanistan ranking lower. This may seem low to us, but the steep rise in literacy rate by the 1990s, must be seen as an accomplishment in the time period. Said to have one of the most tightly controlled governments on the planet by USA Today, Saudi Arabia is an Islamic theocratic monarchy, ruled over absolutely by the House of Saud, which has controlled the land...

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