A common misconception which has been generalized by the western media and subsequently endorsed by several women activists who collectively held the Government of Saudi Arabia as the responsible party for the backward state of the women in the Kingdom. It is a common perspective of a westerner that the government of a country has total control over the people of the country through legislation which has been designed for the protection of their citizens. This attitude has been derived due to the western media’s attempts at serving their audiences through complete lack of any understanding of the functioning of Saudi Society, which in turn can be accredited simply as Lazy reporting.
The ministries of Higher education, health, labor and social affairs of the Saudi Government have been vital in the advancement of women’s rights and credit largely goes to the policies of reform which had been implemented by the Late King Abdullah and had been further fortified by the efforts of King Salman. From the year 2010 right up till date, the total number of Saudi women who are employed in both the public and private sector has been increased by around 50 percent which is above double the rate for the Saudi men. The women of Saudi Arabia are still however found in the more traditional female jobs which include retail, public, education and health services; however a large number of women are also joining the finance, agriculture, manufacturing and transport industry.
This has been possible due to the tireless efforts of the government and not particularly due to public demand. Around 10 years ago, any father of a girl who is going abroad for studies, would be condemned and ridiculed by their friends and family alike. Today however Saudi families are eager to send their young women to foreign lands to obtain education. It can be said however that the society in Saudi Arabia has not caught up with the progressive reforms which have been brought forward by the government. This is the real Saudi society. The western media and mind set give the status of a hero to the English speaking Saudi women who is showing more skin than is allowed, and who are speaking against the mistreatment of women in the Kingdom.
Most of these young activists find it is more feasible to speak for the western version of things. These pseudo activists do not speak for the common people of the Kingdom, for the Bedouin women or any other matter of fact. It seems that these Saudi women do not know about these young activists or they simply do not care about their views and find their acts shameful
Lastly, I want to contradict everything that I have written above by simply saying that what the world perceives is that Saudi people have been held back due to the real Saudi people and not due to their government, however if real Saudis embrace this lifestyle, then who are we to call it a problem.
Source: Arab News
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