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It May be Time for a Saudi Women’s Ministry

The talk of establishing a Ministry of Women’s Affairs in Saudi Arabia raises exciting possibilities for Saudi women, particularly businesswomen who need unfettered access to the international business community. Yet the proposal could lead to further marginalization of Saudi women. The idea of a governmental women’s department may sound quaint in the 21st century, but […]

There are reasons to hate the burqa

Revisiting issues that I previously have written about is not something I do often, but I’m making an exception to return to the West’s most beloved human rights cause: Banning the burqa. I last wrote about pending legislation to ban burqas in Europe more than a year ago when France first proposed laws to make […]

The real abuse of Saudi women

I have a friend who lives under the constant pressure of her brothers conspiring  to cheat her out of her rightful inheritance after her father died. I have another friend who has accumulated some wealth only to give in to pressure from her husband to finance her mother-in-law’s comfortable lifestyle. I have another who can’t […]

Even “backwards” Saudi Arabia has better healthcare programs than the U.S.

The landmark healthcare reform legislation passed by the U.S. Congress on Sunday promises to be the beginning of further reforms in the healthcare industry that guarantees that an additional 32 million Americans will receive affordable medical care by 2019 regardless of their income. The Democrats, however, continue to be hammered for this “un-American” and “socialist” […]

Saudi Religious Police Continue to Struggle to Define its Role in Society

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice is going through another transformation. This time the duties of members of the Hai’a are more defined and detainees and members of the public who have contact with them are to be told whether a commission staffer is acting in his official capacity or […]

With friends like Saudi businesswomen who needs enemies?

Saudi businesswomen in the Eastern Province this week won a hollow victory when two women, Hana Al-Zuhair and Samira Al-Suwaigh, were appointed by Commerce Minister Abdullah Zainal Alireza to the Asharqia Chamber board. The appointments are lauded as an historic victory and a step forward for Saudi women trying to gain a foothold as players […]

Why let Islamic values get in the way of making good money?

There’s nothing like a little money to help put aside those nagging issues of principles, honor and just doing the right thing. No, I’m sorry, it’s not a little money, but $26.7 million (SAR100 million) that eases one’s conscience. I’m referring to the Rotana Media Group that just inked a deal that gives News Corp., […]

Saudi Arabia’s neglected expatriate students

While I was in Jeddah last month I received a telephone call from a young woman. She was timid, nervous, upset and desperate. She was a stranger, but her story touched me as it should touch all women. This young woman had been attending medical school in Saudi Arabia and was in her fourth year […]