Saudi Arabia, a country that does not allow women to drive because that would mean “the end of virginity,” has been elected to the UN women’s rights commission.
No, this is not satire.
Saudi Arabia is set to join the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women after a secret ballot was held among the 54 members of the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council.
Here are 8 random things that women are not allowed to do in Saudi Arabia:
- Drive a car
Despite protests, women are still not permitted to drive in Saudi Arabia. A report in Saudi Arabia warned that if women were given the right to drive, it would mean the end of virginity in the entire country, as well as create a surge in pornography, homosexuality, and divorce.
- Reveal their beauty
Saudi Arabian women have to follow a strict dress code governed by Sharia law. Women must avoid wearing “too much make-up” and be completely covered in public, with only their hands and eyes remaining visible. In certain cases, if their eyes are deemed “too tempting,” they are advised to cover those too. In a report by The Economist, it was noted that while women cannot choose their own clothing, they can still express themselves by wearing different accessories and handbags.
- Try on clothing in a dressing room
While shopping, Saudi women cannot remove their cloaks to try on clothing in public. Female tourists are also advised not to use dressing rooms.
- Be in public without a male chaperone
Saudi women must be accompanied by a male guardian (usually a relative) every time they leave their house for anything they do. A Saudi woman being in public without a male chaperone increases her risk of breaking other laws. (See #5)
- Interact with men
Saudi women are not allowed to communicate with a male stranger. Both men and women who are caught breaking this law can be punished with either public lashings or a prison sentence, with women being subjected to harsher punishments. A woman in Saudi Arabia was sentenced to 200 lashings for being raped, because she was considered at fault for being alone with a man who was not her relative.
- Compete freely in sports
When Saudi women were first allowed to participate in the Olympics (in 2012), they were called “prostitutes” and stigmatized in their homeland. Today, Saudi women are allowed to compete in sporting events as long as they wear “Sharia-compliant” clothing that covers their hair.
- Go for a swim
Well… they can, just not comfortably. The strict Saudi dress codes even follow women to beach. Despite Saudi beaches being segregated by sex, women must still cover up.
- Go to and/or get emotional in cemeteries
Women are condemned from visiting their loved ones in cemeteries because they are considered ‘more likely to cry’ while visiting. The “wailing of women” in cemeteries is considered unlawful behavior in Islamic law. However, a Lebanese scholar, Dr. Abdur Rahman Dimashqiah, claims there are indeed areas in which women can visit a cemetery, just as long as they do not make a habit of it.
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