Mar 18, 2011

The Saudi Women Revolution Statement

After the recent importance of Social Media in creating change in our societies, a lot of Saudi women have been active on Twitter through the hash tag #SaudiWomenRevoltion to write their demands of applying social equality in Saudi society, giving examples and telling stories on the injustice they are facing in their society.

Media has talked about this hash tag but did not care to push this cause forward. Saudi Women, however, have created a page for their revolution on Facebook and talked to several media means to support their legal and legitimate human rights to fight sexism in their society. Thus, this following statement comes as a document that gathers different demands from the Saudi Women Revolution online writings to be sent to different human rights organizations and media means.

First – Women cannot have their rights until the system of Male Guardianship is completely taken off the laws and rules of the Saudi state. The Male Guardian or "Mahram" is the father, brother, husband, or even son who has all the legal rights to control a Saudi woman's life in different ways. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has promised the Human Rights Council of the United Nations in June 2009 to cancel Male Guardianship and to end Sexism in the country, but these promises remain unaccomplished. Saudi women mostly suffer from the Male Guardianship because of the following reasons:

- The Saudi Woman cannot work or apply to a job without the permission of her legal male guardian.

- The Saudi Woman does not have the right to travel without her "Mahram" or without his written permission. The Ministry of interior affairs has decided to permit women who are over 45 years in age to travel without a male guardian or his permission; however, airport officials did not apply the decision, as the Human Rights watch stated in its report in April 2008.

- The Saudi Woman cannot receive education without the permission of her male guardian and cannot travel to receive education abroad without his permission even if she was awarded a scholarship from the state. The Saudi woman also suffers from the limited academic majors although she has proved a better educational performance than the Saudi man as the official statistics show.

- The Saudi woman does not have the rights of marriage and divorce without the permission from her male guardian. Saudi Arabia has had different examples of how women suffered from this system in particular. Human Rights Watch 2010 report stated two incidents of men marrying off their sisters five times to get money, in Braida and Riyadh.

- The Saudi Woman does not have the right to follow and finish her official documents and papers without the permission of her male guardian including her cases in court. Human Rights Watch 2010 report mentioned a woman named Sawsan Salim in Qasim who was punished with 300 lashes and one year and a half in jail for showing up to court without a "Mahram". Justice ministry itself has promised in February 2010 to permit women to work as lawyers, but the promise is still not fulfilled.

- The Saudi woman cannot have medical surgery without the permission of her male guardian. Women have talked a lot about the damages done because of this system. Human Rights Watch report stated in July 2009 that Saudi women need a "Mahram" to enter and leave the hospital. If no "Mahram" showed up to get her out of the hospital, she will stay in until someone does so.

- The Saudi Woman cannot make a bank account for her kids, enroll them in schools, ask for their school files, or travel with them without the permission of her male guardian.

Second – Saudi Arabia Should prohibit, fight, and ban violence against women and create laws to save women rights to sue everyone who use violence against them even if they were their legal male guardians.

Third – Saudi Arabia should completely ban marriage for females under the age of 18. The country has faced many cases of girls who were under the age of 18, being married off for money. Human Rights Watch 2010 report stated that a divorced man has married off his 12 years old daughter to an old man for 80.000 Saudi Riyals (21.300 US Dollars).

Fourth – Saudi Arabia should guarantee the right of car driving to women. The Saudi woman is being obligated to hire male drivers to practice her normal daily life and to go to work. A regular male driver costs 1000 Saudi Riyals monthly (266 US dollars) and a lot of women cannot afford to pay that amount of money.

Fifth – Saudi Arabia should impose complete gender equality in different areas and give the same responsibilities and rights to both genders including the right for the Saudi women to pass citizenship to her kids, which happens to be a natural right for Saudi males.

Sixth – Saudi Women should have their complete political rights which are guaranteed to Saudi men such as running and voting for elections in municipality councils. Women should also be part of Shuwara council and all state institutions, foundations, firm, and ministers including the ministers of justice and foreign affairs.

Seventh – After activating all previous rights, The Royal Court should establish a powerful women committee to activate the role of women in all aspects of the society, fight sexism legally, and spread awareness on the danger of sexism on the society.

Written by Mona Kareem

Photography by Manal Al-Hazzaa


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. you forgot two important things

    1. the right of inheritance for no-saudi nationals born to saudi mothers. currently, the children of Saudi women who have not been nationalized will not inherit their mothers.

    2. pension inheritance. a saudi woman loses her pension if she dies unlike her male counterpart.

  3. The first step the most difficult step
    to demand on ..
    Must be one voice in this issue
    it's great time for Saudi women to wake up & struggle for their rights, it will not be easy & it will take time, may god be with you

  4. Happy to discover this blog and good life for revolution in our arabic world.

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  6. Please accept my warmest support for your cause.

  7. Saudi Women, it is time to speak up.. so proud of you and your courage. Time to stand up for our rights not only in Saudia Arabia but in all the Arab world.

    In sisterhood.. Wafa'- Palestine

  8. Hurray for Saudi women. I am with you. It is about time that you fought for equal rights. This stupid inequality should not be there. Go for equal rights. Women are strong and can tackle anything. It is time....Now is the time...

  9. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal before the Law, that they are endowed with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Due Process, Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Freedom to practice or leave your Religion. Freedom of Press, Speech and Assembly. Freedom from indefinite detention or discrimination based on gender, race, sexual preference. Freedom to marry who you want to marry.

  10. "The Saudi woman does not have the rights of marriage and divorce without the permission from her male guardian."

    Astagfirullah! I never heard this before. Who dares remove the rights of women explictly declared by Allah! It's evil and disgusting enough to apply any number of invented hadith to subjegate women but I'm absolutely shocked by this.

    Excellent blog, Insha'allah I'll make du'aa and spread the word.

    -Veteran Convert

  11. Freedom 4 everyone, I wish u succes.
    From the Netherlands, with love

  12. I'm thrilled to discover your blog. I'm from Lebanon, and unlike in 1989 (the real, first cedar revolution), we now feel like Lebanon advocates for equal rights have company, throughout the Arabic world.

  13. HRFS supports Wajeeha Alhwaider for the Presidency of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA.)

    We received the pleasant news that Mrs. Wajeeha Alhwaider has nominated herself for the Presidency of FIFA.

    HRFS believes that Wajeeha’s leadership of FIFA will have monumental implications on the status of women in Saudi Arabia and Islamic countries and peak manifestation for empowering women around the world.

    HRFS strongly supports the nomination of Mrs. Wajeeha Alhwaider for the Presidency of FIFA.

    Human Rights First Society,Saudi Arabia

    March 23rd, 2011

  14. I am with you. From Argentina, I wish sinceresly you accomplish all of it. All the women in the world should have the same rights and be free of male oppression.

  15. This is completely brilliant. All very best wishes for total success.

  16. It takes bravery to stand up to such a big monster. But by doing so, it is impossible for you to lose, for in so doing you speak the words it doesn't want you to speak, and there are always others to hear and repeat.

    Good luck

  17. Very well stated. I hope this revolution sweeping the arab world leads to more freedom for all the women there. It's disgusting what the men in these countries get away with, they are a disgrace to our race.

  18. I am from Mexico and I support you.
    Don´t change your mind. You will eventually succeed. Good luck. Maria

  19. As in America, your women's suffrage movement will not be pretty. You will be ridiculed, mocked, beaten, starved, imprisoned, and raped. Be prepared for the fight of your lives. Do not give up. They will have to listen if you stand strong, even as you watch your sisters die. Your grandaughters are depending on you.

    Much love to my Arab sisters!

  20. In 2006 I spoke to a Saudi man (While in Jeddah) who told us that this type of movement was inevitable and to him a good thing, I'm so happy to see he was right. Fight for your freedom!

  21. Maybe you should organize a sit in, do not leave your homes, do not spend any money in stores or online in your country. It would show them how powerful you are, and hit them in the pocketbook, but it would only work if there were enough women who were unwavering, and held out for an extended period of time. You can use your intelligence that was given to you by Allah,it was not given to you by men, therefore they can never take it away from you no matter what restrictions or fatwas they issue affecting your lives. You are far more powerful than they would have you believe, but again is not about's about you!

  22. Good luck. The house of Saud must release its death grip on the people of Saudi Arabia and allow women these basic rights!

  23. Excellent blog post, Mona. I will re-post it and re-tweet it.

  24. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. And I will be with you for the 999 that follow. I am in awe of your courage.

    Bouazizi's death transforms into new life all over the globe. I hope and trust that the momentum carries all the downtrodden up and out. His death is bringing the brightest light to shine in the deep, dark corners of the worst of humanity.

  25. الصورة رهيبة والمقال متنوع النقاط اود ان اعيد قراءته لأرى مدى دقته حقا :)

    هل أنت صحافية من لبنان أم مصر
    هديل - الرياض

  26. I wish you success in your struggle. Stay strong because the fight will probably be long and hard.

    "It's hard to beat a person that never gives up."
    ~ Babe Ruth

  27. They key to freedom for anyone is in a separation between church (religion) and state (government). This is often accomplished by a constitution that limits the government. Whenever religion is part of government, the people suffer, because there is no freedom. Without limitation of government (and sets of creator-endowed inalienable rights for the people) if you disagree with either, then you are a heretic and you will be persecuted.

    These are not issues about womens' rights. It's about limiting government and the rights of The People.

  28. We only have what we struggle for and constantly defend. Might is Right or Lions eat wilderbeasts is the way reality works. All else is lip-service by human society as it paints the illusion of civilization.
    A free atheist.

  29. Hi Mona, I just published an article through Yahoo! News on the Saudi Women Revolution (loaded with links to the Facebook page).

    Saudi Women Revolution Organizes Online for Rights, Equality

    Follow the link to my profile page and send me a message if you want to discuss writing more press coverage for the Saudi Women Revolution.

  30. Good, absolutely support all your demands and inshaAllah we will achieve equality for women in Saudi Arabia in our lifetime, but:
    Know your audience. If this is aimed at the Kingdom, it should be in Arabic. So Why are the pictures in English?! Now they are used as an international smear campaign. Direct your message. Because no one on the outside can change things. The Saudi government is powerful enough externally that the Saudi people have to push for change themselves.

  31. What you are doing is great. I really wish you to succeed in your quest. It is high time things changed.

  32. From Paris, France, I want to tell you how much I admire and support your fight against oppression. It's a long long road to break free. Even here in France which is supposed to stand for a "modern" country, women are 20% less paid than men for equal jobs and are still conditioned through education to behave like "womenly"...
    You shall succeed. It's inevitable in human history.
    With all my thoughts,

  33. Why don't you call for a general boycott like on facebook, to not buy anything neither in stores nor in internet, for 24hours, and show them what are you able to do!
    I hope you'll find help,beware that the world supports you,
    Big support from Paris
    Warda :)

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  35. i admire & support ur noble cause. please keep it up.allah mahakum

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