Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Saudi cleric says women who drive risk damaging their ovaries
As women activists in Saudi Arabia are planning a protest later this month and calling on women in the kingdom to defy the ban that prohibits women from driving, a Reuters report, published in The Guardian, quotes a cleric who claims that women who drive risk damaging their ovaries and bearing children with clinical problems. (This reminds me of those in our own U. S. history who claimed that opening higher education to women would damage a woman’s child-bearing capacity or that participation in sports would cause a woman’s uterus to fall out. It’s interesting that patriarchal attempts to control women, denying their full humanity and their ability to run their own lives, are often disguised as concern for women’s health and protection —as witnessed in many legislative bodies today.) Be sure also to watch this 14-minute video, a TED talk by Manal al-Sharif, titled, “A Saudi Woman Who Dared to Drive.” She tells how societal and religious traditions can take over a woman’s life even when actual laws don’t.