Ten Saudi women are petitioning the Saudi Arabia consultative Shura Council to demand an end to absolute male authority over women.
Activist Aziza Yousef told AFP news agency over the weekend that the activists are demanding “measures to protect women’s rights,” as well as the right for women to drive, ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8. They argue that the restrictions women face in Saudi Arabia, which imposes a strict interpretation of Islamic law, are not based in religious teachings.
Saudi women received the right to vote in 2011, but they are prohibited from driving and from working, travelling, and even performing certain medical procedures without a male guardian. In October, over 60 women drove in an ongoing campaign to obtain the right to drive, the lack of which limits their mobility and economic opportunities.
The Shura Council, appointed by the King, advises the monarch but cannot legislate on its own.
Media Resources: Al Jazeera 3/2/14; AFP 3/2/14; Huffington Post 3/5/14; Feminist Newswire 9/26/11, 10/28/13