This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Clash of Civilizations Continues in Saudi Arabia

I have commented before on the idea that gender issues represent the real clash of civilizations in the world, and that Saudi Arabia is the poster child for this idea with things like the proscription (social, not legal) against women driving themselves. The battle has continued in that country, with an increasing number of women driving--often with their husband's cooperation--and then talking about it on Facebook.
The Women2Drive Facebook page said the direct action would continue until a royal decree reversed the ban.
Campaigners have not called for a mass protest - which would be illegal - but have asked women who have foreign driving licences to drive themselves as they go about their daily life.
"All that we need is to run our errands without depending on drivers," said one woman in the first film posted in the early hours of Friday morning.
The film showed the unnamed woman talking as she drove to a supermarket and parking.
The motoring ban is not enforced by law, but is a religious fatwa imposed by conservative Muslim clerics. It is one of a number of severe restrictions on women in the country.
The BBCNews story suggests that the initial motivation for this liberation may have arisen more than 20 years ago when US female military personnel were allowed to drive themselves around in Saudi Arabia, even though Saudi were not (are still not) permitted to do so. The idea that this was inspired by Americans may not be too popular in Saudi Arabia, but the movement itself is certainly laudable.

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