UK report calls out Saudi Arabia over women’s rights abuses. In a country run by men, State-forced segregation based on gender leaves women with unequal access to government services, educational and workplace opportunities and full participation in society. By December, Raghda and Rafaa had turned to their next project: persuading their father to let them go to an electronic music festival in Riyadh, a 90-minute flight away, with a group of friends, male and female. It is a policy recommendation engagement group which is part of the G20 process but is independent from governments. “I got my inspiration by reading the material for the course,” McClanahan said. Share. When she lived for a time with her strict, pious father after her parents’ divorce, cutting her hair short was forbidden. “It’s fine to work in an office because no one can see you there. The younger siblings were not looking forward to it. European envoys urge Saudi Arabia to release women’s rights activists. So were talking to boys and outings with friends. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin. Women 20 (W20) Saudi Arabia 2020. “You can go.”. While Saudi Arabia’s overall human rights record is abhorrent, such violations are exasperated exponentially for women. “What are you doing with those guys?” they demanded as the sisters chatted with male friends. Ever since the Iranian Revolution, laws against women in Saudi Arabia have been stricter. She has even told her mother that she has a job. Saudi Law Granted Women New Freedoms. European envoys urge Saudi Arabia to release women's rights activists By Angela Dewan , Sarah Sirgany and Tamara Qiblawi, CNN Updated 8:46 PM ET, Sun November 29, 2020 As she spoke, her phone buzzed. Indeed, the rhetoric of women's empowerment is no more than a poorly told joke in a country that continues to jail women for exercising basic rights such as freedom of speech. Skittish about their uncovered faces and flustered about their friendly interactions with boys, he fired them soon after. Foreigners in Saudi Arabia: Modern-Day Slavery. Though their hair remains covered, their faces are bare. MEDINA, Saudi Arabia — On the question of women working, the law of the land was crystal clear. Other women have disappeared in prisons over trivial accusations, unable to exit due to a refusal of their male guardians to sign a required permission allowing them to exit. And eventhen, the shura council is just an advisory body in a non-democratic system. “Yes,” his text message read. Saudi courts are deeply flawed and often serve as a mechanism for hiding the Saudi State’s torture and other violations of human rights. Seven European human rights ambassadors criticized Saudi Arabia on Sunday over the continued detention of at least five women's rights activists, including Loujain al … Although women in Saudia Arabia have been granted certain basic rights, there is a long way to go. Their co-workers and customers include men and women. To the sisters, that was the point. Two years and much ado later, Raghda serves lattes filigreed with milk art at a strip-mall coffee shop and Rafaa hosts community gatherings at an event space across the way. Women … Rights groups have condemned Saudi Arabia over the decision to try prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul in terrorism court. by TheWanderingQuinn September 7, 2020. Wed 25 Nov 2020 13.58 EST. Her father eventually gave up and sent her to live with her mother, under whose more permissive roof Ms. Moha cut her hair, uncovered her head, started wearing her abaya open over jeans and T-shirts and bought a piano and an electric guitar. When they waited for Ubers after work, the young men hanging around the mall often heckled them, suspicious of their uncovered faces and light makeup. Not a single female has ever been appointed as a minister in Saudi Arabia, and women hold only 30 seats of the 150-seat shura council, which is not nearly enough to influence the 2/3 majority vote required for recommendations to proceed forward to the King. Early History. “We had no self-esteem,” Raghda said, “because we all looked the same.”. “Our dad says, ‘What if my family came and saw you here working, making coffee and drinks?’” said Raghda. Human rights violations in Saudi Arabia certainly aren’t limited to Saudi citizens. UK legislator Baroness Helena Kennedy demands world leaders shun G20 meeting in Riyadh over jailed women activists. Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul was in court on Wednesday. You’re the princess of the house.”. The sisters who worked did so in the seclusion of offices, segregated from male co-workers. Rafaa told him they were going to “a festival,” omitting the part about the music. Women are barred from making rulings in courts, as not a single female judge presides over any courtroom in all of Saudi Arabia. Even before the legal changes, Saudi women from tolerant families rarely had to chafe under requirements that a male guardian approve plans to get jobs or travel abroad. “In other countries, men and women are living the same life, they’re equal. But the changes driven by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, have complicated that image over the last few years, codifying for women the right to drive, attend sporting events and travel without a man’s permission, among others. Most vulnerable are the female domestic employees, who are recruited by the millions as live-in nannies and cleaners each year. Compared with girls they had seen in Jeddah, the Saudi port city where looser social customs allowed women to go unveiled, wear their all-covering robes open over jeans and mingle with men in public, the sisters felt anonymous, forgettable. “It was a totally different era,” said Albasheeri, founder of the interior design platform Makan.Design. “I really don’t care what people say, but my parents do.”, For all the government reforms, she said, “If your family is traditional, it wouldn’t help at all.”. It found that a majority of Saudi husbands approve of their wives working outside the home, yet underestimate how many other men also support it. For Westerners, squinting at Saudi Arabia across a vast landscape of stories about oppressed women, ultraconservative Islam and human rights … For them, permission was nearly always granted. In 2019, Saudi Arabia was ranked among the worst places in the world to be a woman. Rights groups want participants in a G20 women's meeting starting in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to seek the release of detained female activists and call out the kingdom for its record on rights. But he had already read all about it. Saudi Arabia is a predominately Islamic nation and the law system follows Sharia law. But how can you work with men?”. The global community must continue to demand justice for women in Saudi Arabia and refuse to be complicit in damaging propaganda campaigns seeking to legitimize the Saudi government. Loujain al-Hathloul looked weak and unwell after 900 days in jail, said her family Published: 25 Nov 2020 . The lack of reliable public polling and free speech makes it difficult to gauge how Saudis view women’s changing status. Women in the conservative kingdom are finding they have to negotiate with their relatives newly granted permissions to work, drive and travel. What To Wear in Saudi Arabia As a Foreign Woman in 2020! Every foreign resident in the Kingdom is currently subject to an abhorrent system of sponsorship (kafala) which is often referred to as modern-day slavery. “Dad said, ‘I know it’s a concert. Generations of women who have bravely spoken out against the system of oppression have been fired from their jobs, shamed, arrested, and even subjected to torture. G20 Women's Forum Urged to Press Hosts Saudi on Rights By Reuters , Wire Service Content Oct. 21, 2020 By Reuters , Wire Service Content Oct. 21, 2020, at 8:11 a.m. I can finally talk to people without covering my face.”. Change is desperately needed, and Saudi Arabia must immediately end its violations of women’s rights and allow Saudi women to fully advocate for the social and political reforms that they desire, including substantive participation in government and the policy making process. She coped with an old iPod, a phone and a keyboard hidden in her room. Share . Several other women’s rights activists (including Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza Al-Youssef) have been forced to sign statements swearing silence, issued travel bans prohibiting their right to exit Saudi Arabia, and are facing trial along with other prisoners for nonsensical allegations. “What will people say? “Now, I’m free. “The new thing is, women have more rights than men,” she said. But whether reality lives up to the law depends on the dice roll of birth. At present, women are mere accessories in Saudi Arabia’s non-democratic government. Telling them that more men actually favored it was enough encouragement for them to register their wives for a job-recruitment service. Ms. Alshaikh, who never had to sneak around her parents, sees the place of women differently. Here is a history of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. The Women 20 (W20) is an official G20 engagement group established during the Turkish presidency in 2015. The gulf between strict and tolerant families can be vast. Ms. Moha, a baby-faced 18-year-old with round, wire-rimmed glasses and close-cropped hair, had not dared tell her father that she had a job, let alone that she worked at a coffee shop where clientele and baristas mixed freely, male and female. The Saudi Human Rights Commission stated in its March 2020 reportthat “the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been making steady progress in terms of consecutive reforms and reviews of laws and regulations towards the empowerment and enablement of women”. Women's rights advocates from the United Nations called on Saudi Arabia Thursday to immediately release dissident Loujain al-Hatloul, claiming her … Many policies and practices endorsed and enforced by Saudi Arabia’s monarchy dehumanize women, leaving them vulnerable to extreme discrimination and abuse. Nov 24, 2020 Loujain al-Hathloul will stand trial in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, her family said, nearly a month after the women's rights activist went on hunger strike to protest her prison conditions. Saudi authorities carried out a sweeping campaign of repression against independent dissidents and activists, including two waves of mass arrests, in 2019, Human Rights … A store in Riyadh that sells colorful hijabs and clothes designed for women who want to travel or live outside Saudi. “My parents are against me working here. “I think it’s a huge wave that our parents can’t stand in front of,” Rafaa said.