Arab Women: Out of the Shadows, Into the World

(Economist-UK) Saudi Arabia certainly presents male chauvinism at its worst. Yet it is a mistake to imagine, as many Westerners do, that Arab women as a whole suffer strictures as tight as their Saudi sisters. It is equally incorrect to judge the donning of veils and headscarves - attire that is optional everywhere save in Saudi Arabia and non-Arab Iran - to be a sign of exclusion. For some it is simply a personal expression of religious devotion; for others, a means of escape from the tyranny of fashion. It is even wrong to assume that life for the women of Saudi Arabia is necessarily hard. Boring, yes, and cluttered with minor annoyances, but also full of compensating richness. Many Saudi women take pride in the protectiveness, family-centeredness and Muslim piety of their society. Slowly but surely, too, the lot of Saudi women is improving, just as it has been for women in most Arab countries.

2004-06-25 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive