It is my decision – Saudi’s Zainab Alkhudairi seeks change in her country

In Saudi Arabia, women have very limited rights. In order to make most of their decisions, they have to have a male guardian. So many women are not in control of their lives, however, Zainab Alkhudairi wants to take control of her destiny.

Zainab Alkhudairi
Zainab Alkhudairi
Photocredit: DW

Zainab Alkhudairi who is a professor at Saudi Arabia’s oldest university teaches medical management for women. She also writes a weekly column for a Saudi newspaper ‘Al-Riyadh’. Though Zainab very seldom dares to voice open criticism, she tries to indirectly question the lack of rights for women in her country. She also writes about relations between men and women in Saudi Arabia.

According to Zainab Alkhudairi, women need to be brave and breakout of their cages but it would not happen overnight. Though Saudi appears to be shifting grounds concerning a number of issues, the society is still a very conservative one. Women are still not allowed to drive though that would change this June.

“My book is about two generations, it discusses problems which Saudi Women face”. When asked why she doesn’t use her complete family name on her book, she says that not all her family members support her push for change. “We can talk about change and I accept every change that benefits women, no matter how radical that change may seem.” she says.

Saudi has however begun quite a number of progressive reforms with regards to women rights. Starting from June 2018, women would be allowed to drive, join the military and intelligence service, partake in sporting activities, and attend the cinemas.

“The laws are indeed changing right now. They are changing in favor of women, on issues regarding child custody, divorce etc” she says. “As soon as society becomes more liberal, there would also be more freedom at the university.”

She adds that she would love to have a political job serving her country and serving women as well.

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