Over the years, women in many parts of the world have been fighting for freedom from discrimination and oppression. It is worth noting that while in some parts of the world their efforts have yielded positive outcomes; other parts have yet to realize positive impact. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the countries in the world that records the highest level of women oppression. Majority of women in Saudi Arabia are subject to discrimination and oppression of various forms. The oppression denies them their economic and democratic rights, as well as denying them equal opportunity to realize their full potential. As such, women in this country are largely consigned almost entirely to their homes and do not engage in mainstream economic, social, and political activities in the name of protecting women’s modesty and virtue (Mallory on Travel para8).
The Saudi legal system and the government of Saudi Arabia are founded on the principles of the Sharia law, which is under Saudi Royal family. Despite ratifying various international conventions that are aimed at protecting human rights including the International Convention against Torture, Saudi Arabia has been criticized for its treatment of women, political and religious minorities, apostates, and homosexuals and how it ignores those violations especially among women. In particular, women in Saudi Arabia have been facing oppression of huge magnitude that denies them their economic and democratic rights....
The extent and degree of oppression is evidenced by the fact that women constitute about 5 percent of Saudi Arabia workforce despite constituting about 70 percent of students enrolled in universities. The rates of literacy rates between males and females still compares unfavorably, with literacy rates in males standing at 84.7 percent and 70.8 percent for females. Also, the situation is reflected by the rare sight of powerful businesswomen in the country. This situation is attributed to the belief held by men in the country that the place of women is at home caring for their family and husband (Ksenia para4). Unlike in many countries that have respect for the autonomy and rights of women, Saudi Arabia has low respect for the rights of women and their autonomy to do what they believe is right and good for them. Saudi Arabia’s guardianship laws require that women should gain permission from adult son, husband, or father for many of daily activities (Maktabi and Elwazer para2). Women cannot even take a paid job without gaining permission from a male guardian. CNN reported of Samar Badawi incidence, Badawi is a 30-year-old mother of one who served a seven-months jail because of disobeying her father. Badawi’s father physically abused her since she was 14 years old, but she decided to run away from their home when she was in at the age of 25. This prompted her father to bring a disobedience case against her because she had refused to return home (Maktabi and Elwazer para5). This is a good example of how the Saudi Arabia’s laws are designed to oppress women and in the process deny them their economic and democratic rights. It is no doubt that the issue of women rights in Saudi Arabia is a hot one