Saudi women, by law, are prevented from voting, driving, working, and even getting medical treatment without a man’s permission. King Abdullah announced this week that women will be able to vote in the 2015 election, but many are weary about that long-term promise and don’t believe that it actually indicates a promise that will be kept.
This same week, after this announcement, a woman was sentenced to flogging for being caught driving. Some believe that the punishment was an act of retaliation to make a stand against women’s rights in the wake of Abdullah’s announcment. According to the Huffington Post, women are not generally punished so harshly when disciplined for driving. They are usually required to sign a contract that they’ll never drive again and then sent on their way.
I can’t understand what it would be like to be born into such a society where women are marginalized and controlled to this extent, but I feel connected to and energized by the women in Saudi Arabia who are speaking out for their rights even knowing that there may be consequences for such boldness because it is regarded as disobedient.