Robyn Urback: Saudi Arabia takes a monumental step in fighting violence against women

There is so much to consider here. One, cultural relevance. Many women feel that the issue about the niqab is not something that is relevant now when intrinsic rights over reproductive rights and educational rights, if relevant at all. These women are still Muslims, and so their sense of what is modest is not on the same pages as what, say, the US says what is modest. Ask yourself: what is more important? Projecting a set of foreign ideals onto a “backward” society, or fighting for universal harmony? Those two are not synonymous. Two, everything takes small steps. Congratulations to Saudi Arabia. I’m glad to see that a difference is beginning to be made, internationally and publicly. Slowly, slowly. It’s frustrating to see how little progress is being made, but still, things are looking up.

National Post | Full Comment

“Some things can’t be covered.”

That’s the caption on the first-ever national anti-abuse campaign put forth in Saudi Arabia. Yes, Saudi Arabia. The ad, part of the King Khalid Foundation’s “No More Abuse” campaign, features a woman covered by a niqab, with only her eyes — one blackened and bruised — publicly visible.

The caption below, originally in Arabic, reads, “Some things can’t be covered — Fighting women’s abuse together.”

Now, the cynic’s reading of the ad will quickly jump to the crippling vanity of such a campaign in Saudi Arabia, a country where women only recently won the right to ride a bicycle (under certain conditions, of course). Ranked 131 out of 135 countries in a “Global Gender Gap” World Economic Forum report in 2012, women in Saudi Arabia are still constrained by driving prohibitions, segregation conditions, and the requirement to be under the guardianship of a man…

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