ECONOMY Has an oil-based economy with strong government control over major economic activities Possesses 18% of the worlds proven petroleum reserves Ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum Plays a leading role in OPEC(Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries)
CLOTHING - WOMEN Women customarily wear a black outer cloak (abaya) over their dress On their heads, Saudi women traditionally wear a shayla – a black, gauzy scarf that is wrapped around the head and secured with circlets, hats or jewelry Jewelry symbolizes social and economic status 
EDUCATION Education is free at all levels. School system: elementary, intermediate, and secondary(college) schools Secondary School − either a religious or a technical track Girls are able to attend school, but fewer girls attend than boys.
GOVERNMENT Islamic state - based on principles prescribed by the Quran (Islams Holy Book) and the Shariah (Islamic law); Provincial Council System, Consultative Council (Majlis Al-Shura), and Council of Ministers. The primary source of law is the Islamic Sharia derived from the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah (the traditions of the Prophet).
WOMENS RIGHTSRights that promote a position of legal and social equality of women with men.
WOMENS RIGHTS IN SAUDI ARABIA? Male Guardian:- Women and girls generally are forbidden to leave home, travel outside the country, work, study, marry, file a court case or seek medical care without being accompanied by or receiving the written consent of a male guardian, such as a husband, father, brother or son.- Women are forbidden from opening bank accounts for their children, enrolling them in school or traveling with them without written permission from their father.
WOMENS RIGHTS IN SAUDI ARABIA? Employment:- Girls are taught that their primary role is to raise children and take care of the household.- The kafala (sponsorship) system ties migrant workers residency permits to their “sponsoring” employers, whose written consent is required for workers to change employers or exit the country. Employers abuse this power to confiscate passports, withhold wages, and force migrants to work against their will.
WOMENS RIGHTS IN SAUDI ARABIA? Dress Code:- Women must cover the parts of the body that are awrah (not meant to be exposed)- Purdah is a curtain which makes sharp separation between the world of man and that of a woman, between the community as a whole and the family which is its heart, between the street and the home, the public and the private, just as it sharply separates society and the individual.
WOMENS RIGHTS IN SAUDI ARABIA? Sex Segregation: − Non-mahram women and men must minimize social interaction. − A strict separation of men and women in all public places, which reduces women’s employment opportunities and access to some government agencies. − "gender apartheid"
WOMENS RIGHTS IN SAUDI ARABIA? Education: − Saudi public universities exclude women and girls from some academic disciplines, such as political science, engineering and architecture, and some admit no women at all − Saudi girls are banned from physical education classes in state schools and from public sports facilities. − Male teachers are not permitted to teach or work at girls schools and women are not allowed to teach male children.
WOMENS RIGHTS IN SAUDI ARABIA? Mobility: − They are not supposed to leave their houses or their local neighbourhood without the permission of their male guardian, and company of a mahram (close male relative). − Women are not allowed to drive although it is often tolerated in rural areas. − Women are generally discouraged from using public transport.
WOMENS RIGHTS IN SAUDI ARABIA? Political life: − Women can now be appointed to the Consultative Assembly. − Women would be allowed to vote and run for office in the 2015 municipal elections. − Women are allowed to hold positions on boards of chambers of commerce. Thurata al-Arrated - one of the new female council members (2012)
WOMENS RIGHTS IN SAUDI ARABIA? Identity cards: − The only requirement needed to allow women to enter hotels are their national identification cards, and the hotel must inform the nearest police station of their room reservation and length of stay, which is the law there for men too. − A new, optional ID card for women was issued which allows them to travel in countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. It include GPS tracking, fingerprints and features that make them difficult to forge.
WOMENS RIGHTS IN SAUDI ARABIA? Marriage: − Polygyny is legal in Saudi Arabia; Saudi men may take as many as four wives, provided that they can support all wives equally. Polyandry is forbidden. − Women cannot marry non-Muslim men unless they obtain official permission. − The country’s religious authority banned the practice of forced marriage.
WOMENS RIGHTS IN SAUDI ARABIA? Parental authority: − Legally, children belong to their father who has sole guardianship. − If a divorce takes place, women may be granted custody of their young children until they reach the age of seven. Older children are often awarded to the father or the paternal grandparents. − Women cannot confer citizenship to children born to a non-Saudi Arabian father.
WOMENS RIGHTS IN SAUDI ARABIA? Inheritance issues: − The inheritance share of women in Saudi is generally smaller than that to which men are entitled. − The Quran states that daughters should inherit half as much as sons.[Quran 4:11] In rural areas, some women are also deprived of their entitled share as they are considered to be dependents of their fathers or husbands. − Marrying outside the tribe is also grounds for limiting womens inheritance.
WOMENS RIGHTS IN SAUDI ARABIA? Sexual violence and trafficking: − Under Sharia law, generally enforced by the government, the courts will punish a rapist with anything from flogging to execution. − As there is no penal code in Saudi Arabia, there is no written law which specifically criminalizes rape or prescribes its punishment. − The rape victim is often punished as well, if she had first entered the rapists company in violation of purdah. There is no prohibition against spousal or statutory rape. − Most rape cases are unreported, because victims fear namus, reduced marriage prospects, accusations of adultery, or imprisonment.
PUNISHMENTS Whip lashing (latigo) - varies according to the discretion of judges, and ranges from dozens of lashes to several hundreds Imprisonment Fines / Blood money Torture / Execution Amputation of hands and feet for robbery Flogging for lesser crimes such as "sexual deviance" and drunkenness
CASE 1. Unconfirmed reports that a Saudi Arabian man who brutally murdered his five-year old daughter would be released after paying “blood money” to the girl’s mother have sparked intense debate and condemnation. The victim suffered horrific injuries, including a crushed skull, broken back, broken ribs, a broken left arm and extensive bruising and burns. The father, a self- styled “cleric,” has claimed that he was motivated by the child’s “inappropriate” behavior and his suspicions about whether her virginity was still intact. Reports of the case coincided with a heavily lampooned call by a Saudi cleric for babies to be dressed in burkas as a prophylactic measure to protect them from sexual crimes.While it appears that a final ruling is yet to be issued in the murder case, the debate does highlight—rather graphically—some of the most glaring obstacles faced by women in accessing justice in an embedded patriarchy. To wit, the girl’s mother flatly denies that the child was raped, labeling the very charge of rape as an “assault” on her daughter’s honor. However, the medical examiner in the case has confirmed that the “offender committed all sorts of physical abuse on the victim” and that she exhibited clear evidence of sexual abuse and rape, including “swelling in the region of the genitals and laceration in her anal area.”Source: http://hlpronline.com/2013/02/womens-rights-in-saudi-arabia-under- scrutiny-again/
CASE 2. On May 22, Saudi authorities arrested Manal al-Sharif after she defied the kingdom’s de facto ban on women driving. Al-Sharif appeared in a video showing herself behind the wheel. Prosecutors charged her with “tarnishing the kingdom’s reputation abroad” and “stirring up public opinion,” according to Saudi press reports. On May 30, Khobar police released al-Sharif from prison after she appealed to King Abdullah.On June 17 around 40 women with international drivers’ licenses participated in a “women2drive” campaign. No law bars women from driving, but senior government clerics have ruled against the practice. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world to prohibit women from driving.Source: http://www.hrw.org/world-report-2012/world-report-2012-saudi-arabia
CASE 3. Rizana Nafeek arrived in Saudi Arabia in 2005 and spent her first few weeks in Saudi Arabia working as a housemaid to earn money to support her relatives back home who had been displaced by the massive tsunami in the Indian Ocean the year before.She then spent the next seven years in Saudi jails as she was accused, charged, convicted and sentenced to death (beheaded with a sword) in the killing of her employers 4-month-old son. In cases where the death penalty is possible, "defendants are rarely allowed formal representation by a lawyer and in many cases are kept in the dark about the progress of legal proceedings against them," Amnesty International says. They argued that the courts had failed to take into account Nafeeks birth certificate, which showed she was only 17 at the time of the babys death in 2005, making her too young to receive the death penalty under international law.Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/01/10/world/meast/saudi-arabia-sri-lankan- maid
CASE 4. A Saudi Arabian court has sentenced a 75-year-old Syrian woman to 40 lashes, four months imprisonment and deportation from the kingdom for having two unrelated men in her house, according to local media reports. Fahd told the policeman he had the right to be there, because Sawadi had breast-fed him as a baby and was therefore considered to be a son to her in Islam, according to Al-Watan. Fahd, 24, added that his friend Hadian was escorting him as he delivered bread for the elderly woman. The policeman then arrested both men. Al Watan obtained the courts verdict and reported it was partly based on the testimony of the religious police. In his ruling, the judge said it was proved that Fahd is not Sawadis son through breastfeeding. Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam called Wahhabism and punishes unrelated men and women who are caught mingling.Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/03/09/saudi.arabia.lashes/
CASE 5. The "Qatif Girl" Rape Case (Arabic: )قضية اغتصاب فتاة القطيفis a much- publicized gang-rape case. The victim was a teenage girl from Qatif (Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia), who, along with her male companion, was kidnapped and gang-raped by seven Saudi men in mid-2006. A Saudi Sharia court sentenced the perpetrators to varying sentences involving 80 to 1,000 lashes and imprisonment up to ten years for four of them. The court also sentenced the two victims to six months in prison and 90 lashes each for "being alone with a man who is not a relative" in a parked car. The appeals court doubled the victims sentences in late 2007 as punishment for the heavy media coverage of the event in the international press regarding the treatment of women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Saudi judicial practices. In December 2007 the Saudi King Abdullah issued an official pardon for the two victims, citing his ultimate authority to revise "discretionary" punishments in accordance with the public good, although the pardon did not reflect any lack of confidence in the Saudi justice system or in the fairness of the verdicts.Source: http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2007/11/girl-from-qatif-rape- victim.html
CASE 6. A Filipino woman in Saudi Arabia is scheduled to be lashed 100 times by the government as punishment for being raped by a Bangladeshi coworker in August. To add to the tragedy, the Filipino has been held in prison since September 2009. In December 2009, the woman — known only as “Camille” — miscarried. Now, she is facing a medieval crime — all because she was raped. In Saudi Arabia, all sex outside of marriage — including rape and sexual assault — can result in prison and lashings under their extreme interpetation of Sharia.Source: http://trueslant.com/nealungerleider/2010/01/21/saudi-arabia-to-lash- filipino-rape-victim-100-times/
REFERENCES: Owen, Richard (17 March 2008). "Saudi Arabia extends hand of friendship to Pope". The Times (London). Retrieved 27 July 2011.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saudi_Arabia# cite_note-Times-200http://www.saudiembassy.net/about/