Seeking women’s rights outside Saudi Arabia?

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I left Saudi Arabia when I was 18 years old to continue my education in the United Kingdom. I thought that I would find everything smoother and easier than at home. However, I did not really value home until I traveled abroad, and realized the rights and respect that women have in Saudi Arabia.

Nowadays, the issue of women’s rights has been politicized and the media is stereotyping Saudi Arabia as not supporting these rights, while in fact developed countries are still suffering from “unequal payment” while Saudi women who work are paid the same as men.

Women in Saudi Arabia are given the priority in everything, even in the matter of waiting in queues. Saudi men also support and respect women especially in this remarkable period of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. Women nowadays are working in all fields and have achieved very high positions, keeping in mind that Saudi women are not the breadwinners of a family.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is cosmopolitan and it has a diverse number of nationalities. I have met diplomats, expats, students and foreign residents who live here peacefully and enjoy their rights.

In terms of transcultural feminism, there are global harms that all women share. No matter where you are in the world, some women suffer and that affects all women. However, women everywhere in the world, not only in the East but also in the West, struggle everyday with the violence pervading our societies.

Moreover, a central dilemma is that countries, or more accurately politicians, have an assortment of humanitarian situations with political interests, and women who were once promised freedom and equality are the victims.

Therefore, looking at the issue of belonging does not only revolve around the liberties given to women. Nevertheless, family issues should not be politicized and taken out of context.

Whoever runs away from Saudi Arabia seeking so-called freedom will regret leaving such a safe, developed, wealthy, well-educated and encouraging community. As a Saudi female, I am proud to be a citizen who enjoys all rights with a feeling of freedom, security and belonging.

The author is a Saudi political analyst specialized in International Relations. She can be reached at: ekleel.sallam@hotmail.com Twitter: @EkleelBS


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