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Gause on women in Saudi 21, April 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Saudi Arabia.
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Gulf sage Greg Gause has a fantastic article at FP on the changing role of women in Saudi society. The short article is well worth reading but here are a couple of little ‘nuctas’ which I gleaned.

  • Yes, KAUST is a great thing but Gause notes that it is so isolated (80 miles from nearest city) from Saudi society and there are so few Saudis there, let alone Saudi women, that its effects are perhaps best measured in decades.
  • There was a co-ed crowd at Riyadh’s annual book fair and at the fair for the King Abdullah study abroad fair. Even the religious vice and virtue police were present – at a stall – at the former giving out leaflets. Nevertheless, these are but ‘one off events’.
  • Jeddah’s Chamber of Commerce is working on implementing different working times for men and women so they never have to mix.

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Women’s rights in Middle East 5, March 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Middle East.
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A study of women’s rights in the Middle East has just been released. Tunisia and Jordan, two countries which provide legal protection against domestic abuse, came top of the list, followed by Morocco, Algeria and Lebanon. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Yemen and Saudi propped up the list at the very bottom. Indeed, Yemen holds the dubious distinction of having the lowest percentage of women ‘economically active’ in the world at a paltry 28%.

Al Arabiyya also picked up on a typical Saudi piece of absurdity where women are allowed to study for law degrees but are not allowed to appear in court for their clients. Yet, as always with Saudi, its small steps.