Saudi Arabia

International Day of Women and Girls in Science, 11.February 2017

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Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls (SDG 5) will make a significant contribution not only to the economic development of the world but to progress across all the 17 SDGs and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well.

Currently, in countries where conservative Islam and/or the patriarchal structure predominates, women and girls are discriminated to visit higher schools and universities; although, women want to contribute to science. However, there are Islamic states (such as Saudi Arabia) which promote the education of women, but the women stay mostly unemployed after graduation because of gendered seclusion in job opportunities. The attitude of male superiority and female subjection contributes to the general misinterpretation of the Quran (Muslim people’s main religion text) and misunderstanding of the Muslims: So many Islamic experts say that this patriarchal viewpoint is unrelated to Islamic values.

What could women and girls do to fight against this women-hostile Islam or patriarchal attitude? Should women and girls living in democratic countries demonstrate in front of embassies of arch-conservative countries and/or use the social media more effectively  Many Muslim women or women coming from Islamic- or patriarchal controlled countries studied successfully at universities in Austria, and their parents are very proud!

In the democratic countries like in Austria, the situation is different for women and girls, but still needs improvement: flexible working time, work-balance, enlightenment and opportunities for women and girls, etc.

When a woman is helpless, without rights and ignorant, half of the nation is sick and paralyzed 
 Mammad Amin Rasulzade, Chairman of the National Council of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.


Roland Leithenmayr, VfV, 16. February 2017

Saudi Arabia – Quo Vadis Emancipation of Women?

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King Abdullah will be unforgettable through his global commitment “Energy for the Poor”. He also campaigned for the women by opening the labor market and universities (studying more women than men) and 30 of the 150 seats in the Shura (Saudi Parliament) he reserved for women. Many women are doctors, entrepreneurs or working in the civil service and now more than half a million Saudi women earn their money. Nevertheless, women are not allowed to decide or move freely without male guardianship. Although this is a triviality, women are not permitted to steer a car or been in contact with men except with their husband or relatives. In our free world, men are glad when their spouses make their decisions and drive the children into kindergarten. The separation of men and women cause a weak economy and weak public service. Islam experts claim that women bear the pants at home. So there is hope that the prophecies of the women come true. The Saudi Parliament should consider the 17. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particular SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, and The Golden Rule of Humanity which is harmonious with Wahhabi Religion.

Source: Christian Ultsch, Die stille Emanzipation der saudischen Frauen, Weltjournal, Samstag, 28. November 2015, Die Presse.