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Saudi Arabia Takes One Step Forward: US One Step Back

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Driving a car may seem like no big deal to women in the United States, but in Saudi Arabia women are just now hitting the road for the first time. Women in Saudi Arabia are finally legally allowed to obtain a driver’s license which is a triumph for women’s activists, feminists and women’s rights as a whole.

On Monday, June 4, 10 women were issued driver’s licenses almost a year after King Salman of Saudi Arabia made the call to lift the ban on women’s right to drive on Sept. 26, 2017.

 


According to CBS News, these women had apparently already received driver’s licenses from other countries and were able to take a brief driving test before being issued their official Saudi Arabian license.

Other women, however, must wait until June 24, 2018 to begin taking their driver’s license tests. In the meantime, they are able to learn all the ins and outs of driving a car before actually taking their skills out on the streets. Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University is the largest women’s university in the world and is now the first school in Saudi Arabia to teach women how to drive.

A student at the university, Dr. Ruba Alzuhairi, spoke to CBS News about what it meant to be one of the first women to take the initiative and learn how to drive. “This will also decrease some of the cost that I’m paying on taxis, on a driver. This will help me be independent,” Alzuhairi said.

The independence and freedom associated with driving a car was not overlooked by these women, and the opportunity to drive themselves has been cause for mass excitement. The ministry of information released a statement saying that nearly 2,000 women should be receiving their license within the first week of this law being implemented.

This marks a major step forward for women in Saudi Arabia and around the world as it proves that activism and advocacy works even in what appears to be the slightest of measures to some people, but strides forward to others.

 


Although the news of women finally receiving their right to drive is a major step forward, there is one man in Virgina who claims to want the opposite of everything the feminist movement stands for.

Nathan Larson is not only opposed to women’s rights to drive in Saudi Arabia but also a woman’s right to be independent and benefit from civil rights as a person altogether. He is a known criminal and currently running as an independent for Congress in Virginia’s 10th district.

In 2009, Larson served 16 months in federal prison and was sentenced to three years of supervision after that for threatening to assassinate both Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

The idea that someone with a felony charge can run for a seat in congress should be alarming without even looking at their campaign platform or beliefs. However, his beliefs are cause for more worry and breech into insanity with the idea that pedophilia and incest are both normal and should be made legal.

 


Among his other beliefs are the ideas that women should be seen as merely property, that white supremacy is a good thing, and Adolf Hitler was beneficial to Germany in his years of reign.

According to The Washington Post, “He thinks women should be classified as property, first of their father, then of their husband. He wants the Violence Against Women Act repealed and says ‘the most radical patriarchist will tend to favor letting men have sex with the little girls they own.’” 

He told the Washington Post that he believes in President Donald Trump and he supports some of the cultural changes he has instituted.

 

It is believed by many that the president’s ability to say whatever he pleases about women and make derogative sexual remarks towards them has empowered and enabled people like Larson to run for office. So far, Larson has been able to remain in the race while receiving zero repercussions for his sexist and horrifying remarks about women and children.


 

People like Larson are one of many reasons why the feminist movement and women everywhere have not rested, and none have been able to remain content with steps forward like those made by the women in Saudi Arabia. While he is an extreme example of the patriarchal viewpoints and most likely will not win the election, there are still many other candidates for congress as well as current politicians that share anti-feminist views. This is why it is paramount for women to rejoice in the Saudi Arabian victory for women while still understanding that we have a long way to go.

Hi, I'm an intern with HERS Magazine for the summer of 2018. I love to write, read poetry, and listen to political podcasts. I enjoy time with my dogs, traveling and practicing my languages. Spreading the truth and sharing the news are my two goals as I enter this career path of communications.

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