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The Fight for Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia

Introduction

In the last century women worldwide have taken great strides in the Women Suffrage Movement. This progressive movement has given women the opportunity to have their voice heard and their ideas projected through voting. As of 2011 however, there are still 3 countries that still currently deny their women the right to vote one of which being Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is a country that has been immensely impacted by strict gender segregation laws sanctioned by the absolute monarchy. For a while it seemed as if Saudi Arabia was not moving in a progressive direction in terms of the Women Suffrage Movement. In Saudi Arabia women not having the right to vote is only one of the many inequalities that plague women in this country.

At the height of the Arab Springs movement conflict began to boil over into Saudi Arabia causing the women in this country to realize that this was their opportunity to radically speak up against the injustices they faced, one of the major issues at the forefront of their concerns being their right to drive. In response to this outcry King Abdullah, the King of Saudi Arabia, granted women the right to vote in 2015 and to become members of the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia also referred to as the Shura Council. This caused the rest of the world to ponder his intentions in doing so. In this paper I will be exploring if in fact this really is a giant leap forward towards women’s rights or merely a gimmick for the monarchy to keep power in the increasing volatile Middle East or, both. In an effort to answer this question I will be discussing the public opinion of King Abdullah’s decision , the recent Arab springs movement in Saudi Arabia and the case of Manal al-Shariff , which led to the w...

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