Women2Drive who?

Pic by Mark Ulyseas

In Saudi Arabia the movement, Women2Drive, by women for the right to drive a vehicle is gaining momentum.

“On Wednesday, two founders of the movement, Manal al-Sharif, 33, and Najla Hariri, 45, posted an open letter with 600 signatories to King Abdullah, appealing once more for an end to the ban on women driving. The letter said: “Our initiative is not aimed at violating laws.”

I have read many comments under this post about the rights of women. I am sure many are men, “Western” men among the comments.

But the plight of the ‘Western’ woman is really no different.

-For instance in the US a woman citizen cannot travel outside the country with her children without the permission of the father.
-Abortion rights of a woman are decided by the State with anti-abortionists in the political and social arena using religion as a weapon.
-Women are not seen as equal in Sport. Prize money is much less for women participants.
-In Jerusalem segregation of women is a reality brought on by ultra orthodox Jewish fundamentalists.
-In a rape case there are many instances where this statement is applicable – The woman asked for it, look how she was dressed.

The truth is that there is no difference between the attitudes of Saudi or ‘Western’ men. As a friend says, “There are only different degrees of subjugation. Women are seen as the inferior of the two sexes and we have religion to blame for this”.

Even in countries like India where the woman is present in medicine, sports, space technology, computer software etc. she still has to return home to her husband to be the mother, whore and “help” around the house.

In Australia, a “battered” woman friend of mine, who is a teacher, narrated to me her harrowing experience – before she leaves the area with her children she has to get permission from her ex-husband, a drunk, living with his girlfriend. She is a teacher. Often he would change his mind at the last moment. She is still struggling with the law of the land.

The litany can continue but is there a point to this post? Yes…women everywhere, in general, are considered a sub-species by men.

The paradox is that we honour our mothers, protect our sisters, pray to Mother Mary, Goddesses, in many cases call our country Motherland and vociferously judge others countries for their attitude to women when all along nothing has intrinsically changed in our own attitudes towards women.