Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Women of the Holy Kingdom (Equality for Women)

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It is a measure of the nature of Saudi culture that Saudi Arabia is the only nation which

was in existence in 1948 not to have ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Women of the Holy Kingdom opens up by explaining the gap which has opened between Saudi Arabia's

backward culture and their tremendous international influence as a result of their newfound oil wealth.

It is an inside look at the many challenges faced by Saudi women every day.

The Saudi Arabian government determines laws based on their interpretation of Muslim teachings.

As a result, the government regulates the clothes that the women of Saudi Arabia are

allowed to wear out in public, and all women must be accompanied by their male guardian

outside of their own homes.

Such practices violate the principle of legal equality, as well as a host of basic human

rights, including freedom of movement, thought, expression, and so on.

This has created a difficult situation for the Saudi people, and for the rest of the

world, in determining the best ways in which to interact with this country, which is in

many ways equal to some of the stronger powers in the world, and yet remains one of the few

countries whose administration still affirms executions by stoning.

But most of all, this situation has left the women of Saudi Arabia in a difficult position.

Without many of the basic rights that women enjoy across the world in the countries

that Saudi Arabia considers its equals.

Laws regarding dress prevent women from leaving their homes without the proper attire.

Laws also prevent law enforcement and emergency crews from entering a building if the man

of the house is not present.

Women can also not be admitted to a hospital without the consent of their male guardian.

These laws often create dangerous situations for women in which they cannot leave a dangerous

area or receive emergency help in their own homes.

Women of the Holy Kingdom details one occurrence where as many as 50 girls were killed or injured

because religious law enforcement would not allow them to leave a burning building because

they were not wearing the proper head covering.

"Do you think that women should be allowed to vote?"

Saudi Arabian government operates based on a strict interpretation of Sharia law, which

is the source of many of these restrictive and frequently deadly policies.

It also means that women are not granted equal treatment in Saudi courts of law, and are

frequently handed sentences of death by stoning, a slow and excruciating form of corporal punishment,

for crimes of adultery, drug smuggling, blasphemy, or many other crimes for which a male might

receive a much lesser sentence or none at all.

Although the government claims to be more open to progressive policy, religious leaders

still remain completely entrenched in their interpretation of the laws of Islam and in

their law enforcement.

These leaders have enormous influence in the devout communities of Saudi Arabia, but have

also been almost inseparably intertwined with the Saudi government for many years.

As such, overcoming the stigma that they assign to the equitable treatment of women in society

will be a long, hard, and potentially deadly task for countless women.

"I think they really need a chance to get things changed for them."

The Description of Women of the Holy Kingdom (Equality for Women)