Women is Saudi Arabia have taken a huge step for equality with the anti-domestic violence campaign, “No More Abuse.” Associated with the King Khalid Foundation, this campaign is a major milestone in a country where gender inequality rank at one of the worst in the world. Women in the country are still required to have male permission for everyday things, and domestic violence and abuse occur frequently. This campaign plans on promoting equality for women, safe resources for those in abusive situations, and some much needed research geared towards this populace.
Katie McDonough explain how many within the organization believe that “domestic Violence is an unseen problem” and is “much greater than what is apparent on the surface.”
Gender inequality can show itself in micro and macro ways, both blatant and subtle. Awareness of this inequality is brought to light by the efforts of organizations and independent change agents. When Bill Gates was asked during the World Economic Forum in 2007 whether Saudi Arabia would become a major economic competitor, he replied “If you’re not utilizing half of the talent in the country, you’re not going to get too close to the top.” The research highlighting the importance of this topic isn’t hard to find.
Kabeer & Natali(2013) summarize and explore the relationship between economic growth and gender equality in their study. What they found is that there is a consistent relationship between gender equality and economic growth, however, that economic growth does not always translate into higher equality.
Eastin & Prakash(2013) discuss how the economy and gender equality often portrays an S-curve, first improving both the economy and equal rights but then leading to a push-back or “resistance to gender norms.” They concluded that in the final stage, equality then improves and “encourages the evolution of new social institution and norms that overcome prior discriminatory practices.”
Both studies, and many more stress the importance of policies and institutions that promote gender equality. The long term benefits of a more equal society and work-force extends to ever aspect; education, work, development, technology, etc. Saudi Arabia may begin to see slow changes in the relationship of women in society. The effects could mean that the country will grow into another world leader in the economic sector. Even if that isn’t immediate, the increase for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia will allow an entire population to lead healthier, and more productive lives. Today, the win is a recreation law allowing women to ride bicycles in enclosed spaces. Tomorrow, it could be a women in politics.
By: Courtney Kidd, LMSW
SJS Staff Writer
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