Two versions of Saudi Arabia exist side by side. One is typified by the new university which allows females to attend classes with boys and study just about every subject area including technology. The other is centered in a male dominated world in which father, uncle, husband, brother, heck, even son can order a woman to do as he pleases. Under Saudi law, a woman must ask her “guardian” for permission to travel or work or even obtain medical services. A recent case noted by Human Rights concerns a woman who was placed in a mental asylum by her father because she wanted to marry a man from another tribe he considered inferior. She went to court and won her freedom, but since her father continues to appeal the decision, she remains locked up. Samar Badawi, age 29, won a case against her father who denied permission to marry, but she remains in jail while he appeals. Dad has also sued her for “disobedience.”
Naturally, the Saudi government and its clerics insist the Muslim religion protects women against the world of modernity. They can remain home and never worry about getting fired from a job. They can marry whom dad says and never have to worry about deciding whom to marry. Welcome to the modern Saudi Arabia.