Laura Clarke is an International Relations graduate living in London. She enjoys writing, talking and, thankfully, quite likes rain too.
Driven to the Edge
Civil Rights – In a country where blasphemy can earn you 500 lashes and sex segregation is widely practiced, it is easy to think that there is little left to horrify you about human rights in Saudi Arabia. Professor Kamal al-Subhi is, however, doing his utmost to deliver a new dose of concern to those of us who advocate gender equality and rights for all.
Subhi recently authored a report offering justification for Saudi Arabia’s ban on female driving, putting it forward at a time when increasing numbers of Saudi women are acting out in protest of the law. This ‘scientific study’ examines the effects of women driving on the morality and integrity of a society. The subsequent report is overwhelmingly misogynistic in its conclusions and completely bewildering in the points that it makes.
Among the nuggets of insight that Subhi offers up is that “Girls are the key to immorality. It will ensue if they are given unrestricted freedom because of their small mindedness or if they face a problem.” This being a study that Subhi deems scientifically-sound and able to stand up to academic scrutiny, he also poses observations made in societies with the misguided approach of allowing women the right to drive: “After a while, a woman got up and walked to her car in the parking lot in front of the Starbucks we were in… She was wearing a pair of pants so tight that her innermost organs were discernible.”
Subhi’s ‘study’ would be laughable if its impact were not so worrying. The Saudi establishment is one that many Western governments actively court; with Saudi women facing such blind misogyny, we must ask what this says about us.
Read more at The Guardian.