Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia


During the late 20th and early 21st centuries, women's rights in Saudi Arabia were limited in comparison to the rights of women in many of its neighbor countries due to the strict sharia law in place in Saudi Arabia.

Women's rights are the rights and entitlements claimed for women and girls worldwide, and formed the basis for the women's rights movement in the nineteenth century and feminist movement during the 20th century.

Saudi Arabia, officially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is a sovereign Arab state in Western Asia constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula.

What rights do Saudi women have? by CNN


The World Economic Forum's 2016 Global Gender Gap Report ranked Saudi Arabia 141 out of 144 countries for gender parity, down from 134 out of 145 in 2015.

The World Economic Forum is a Swiss nonprofit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva.

Are women's rights in Saudi Arabia progressing? by CBS News


The United Nations Economic and Social Council elected Saudi Arabia to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women for 2018–2022.

The United Nations is an intergovernmental organization to promote international co-operation.


Women in Saudi Arabia constituted 13% of the country's native workforce as of 2015.


Among the factors that define rights for women in Saudi Arabia are government laws, the Hanbali and Wahhabi interpretation of Sunni Islam, and traditional customs of the Arabian Peninsula.

The Arabian Peninsula, simplified Arabia is a peninsula of Western Asia situated northeast of Africa on the Arabian plate.

Wahhabism is an Islamic doctrine and religious movement founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab.

The Hanbali school is one of the four traditional Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence.


Women campaigned for their rights with the women to drive movement and the anti male-guardianship campaign, with the result that some improvements to their status occurred during the second decade of the twenty-first century.

The anti male-guardianship campaign is an ongoing campaign by Saudi women against the requirement to obtain permission from their male guardian for activities such as getting a job, travelling internationally or getting married.

Up until June 2018, Saudi Arabia was unique in being the only country in the world where women were forbidden to drive motor vehicles.


Women were previously forbidden from voting in all elections or being elected to any political office, but in 2011 King Abdullah let women vote in the 2015 local elections and be appointed to the Consultative Assembly.


In 2011, there were more female university graduates in Saudi Arabia than male, and female literacy was estimated to be 91%, which while still lower than male literacy, was far higher than 40 years earlier.


In 2013, the average age at first marriage among Saudi females was 25 years.


In 2017, King Salman ordered that women be allowed access to government services such as education and healthcare without the need of consent from a guardian.

Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has been King of Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques since 23 January 2015.


In 2018, King Salman issued a decree allowing women to drive, lifting the world's only ban on women drivers.

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