Saudi Arabia women still can’t do these things

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Saudi Arabia is easing restrictions on women drivers. Saudi Arabia was only country in the world to ban women from driving. Neither Islamic law nor Saudi traffic law explicitly prohibits women from driving, but they were not issued licences and were detained if they attempted to drive.

Here is a look at things women in Saudi Arabia can do or can’t do:

What they can do now

1. Last week, women were allowed to enter a sports stadium in Riyadh for Saudi National Day — in a family section, away from single men

2. They no longer require a guardian’s permission to work

3. This year, government allowed girls in public schools to play sports, have access to physical education

4. In May, government offices were told to allow women to obtain services without permission from a guardian

5. Expatriate women, once obliged to veil, now get away with only an abaya

What they still can’t do

1. They can’t marry, divorce, get a passport, travel, open a bank account or have a medical procedure without permission from their male guardians

2. Women can’t socialise with males outside their immediate families, can be imprisoned for such an offence

3. They can’t even eat at restaurants that don’t have a separate family section

4. They must wear an abaya (cloak) and veil in public places. However, in Riyadh, some women have started showing their faces

5. Islamic restriction prevents Muslim women from marrying non-Muslims. Also, Sunni women can’t marry a Shia man or a communist (atheist)

6. They cannot conduct certain business, need at least two men who can testify to her character before she can be granted a loan or a licence
7. In case of divorce, they can’t retain custody of their children after they reach the age of seven for boys and nine for girls
8. They can’t get a fair hearing in court, where ‘the testimony of one man equals that of two women.’ The legal position in Saudi Arabia of a woman is equal to that of a minor, and therefore she has little authority over her own life
9. She cannot receive an equal inheritance. Under Sharia inheritance laws, daughters receive half what is awarded to their brothers.
Source: Times of India
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