Saudis Loosen Women’s Shackles
Various media are reporting on some serious reforms in Saudi Arabia, starting with giving women permission to drive. The story, so far sourced only to a correspondent of the UK’s The Telegraph, but being widely picked up, says that the government has bowed to the inevitable and is in the process of writing regulations and setting up the infrastructure needed, e.g., women-only license and registration offices.
Better sourced is a story on Reuters about the Saudi government’s also permitting women to register in hotels, without a guardian. This has been an issue with Saudi businesswomen who find it difficult to do business in cities in which they have no personal infrastructure–family or residential property.
Both issues are sure to raise hell with the religious conservatives who seem to believe that a woman alone is merely an opportunity for profligate sex. I’m confident that the Saudi religious police will be kept busy scouring the hotel registries and cruising the streets—just like all the hormonally ramped up adolescents—on the look-out for available women.
And since non-driving women are already being accused of causing most traffic accidents, there’s sure to be a flood of stories about how bad women drive.
But baby steps are welcome in a country that’s trying to pull itself out of the hole it’s created for itself.