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Saturday, June 30, 2018

Women Driving in Saudi Arabia: What Next?

For the first time, women in Saudi Arabia can get legal drivers licenses and drive cars. (I'm sincerely hoping they actually had some kind of training beforehand.) It's billed as a breakthrough for women, a first step towards liberation. I heard on the news it's the last country in the world to allow women to drive. Interesting.

I believe the next battleground for Saudi women will be clothing, but this is more difficult, as the law is tied to Sharia Law, and it isn't a preference privilege, like driving.  "It is the law in Saudi Arabia for expat women to wear an abaya when they are out in public. The abaya should cover their everyday clothing. EW (Expat Women) recommends that women wear respectable clothing under their abaya in the form of a long loose-fitting skirt or trousers and a top that covers the shoulders and midriff."1 The abaya is the long, black cloak that covers the entire shape of the body. For centuries, women in Saudi Arabia have not only worn the black abaya, but also head and face coverings. According to Sharia Law, the only parts of a woman that may be seen in public are her hands and eyes. In practice, some parts of Islamic countries vary in how much of a woman's face may be seen.

I think it is interesting how the rest of the world has adapted the traditional clothing. Some adhere strictly, and in other places, except for the hijab (head/neck covering), you would hardly notice the woman was Muslim at all. We see colors, wraps of different lengths, and even slacks paired with slightly longer tops. Others wear a coatlike garment with long sleeves. And, Muslim women seem happy to wear these clothes, which express their faith and modesty.

Will there be a revolt about clothing? I think it will come. It may begin with wearing colors besides black and then move to something different. It will probably be a trickle, but, like the driving debate, things will eventually change. Societal norms, like asking a male relative for permission to do things—or needing him to accompany—will be challenged as well.

Women always want to break free.

It began in the Garden of Eden, and it has continued down through the centuries since. My grandfather used to tell me about the suffragettes marching and their protests for the freedom to vote. Later, women marched for equal rights and equal pay for equal work, and the freedom to work at whatever they choose. They protested the Miss America pageant in the 1960s, and today, they're protesting sexual harrassment in the Me Too movement. Now, women all over the world march for the freedom to kill their own unborn children under the banner of "my choice." 

What is women's freedom, anyway?

God made a woman separate from man and different from him. She was made with a role—to help and complement, and yes, she was given to Adam as his wife and charged with the tasks of helping him rule over creation and given the privilege of motherhood. She became the first wife and mother, and she was equal in value with her husband—though their roles from the very beginning were different.

When Eve sinned, (we don't know how many days or years they lived in sinlessness), she encouraged her husband to sin with her, which he did. God held Adam responsible, as he was the head of the family. God also questioned Eve, who blamed the serpent. All of the course of history was changed because of sin.

So, what does this have to do with Saudi women driving?


It is so important in the day we're in to be for biblical freedoms and biblical roles.

Let's celebrate the fact that Saudi women can finally drive. There's nothing wrong with that at all.

And, Christian women everywhere need to examine our own actions and personal calls for freedom in the light of the Word of God.
  • Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created (Psalm 148:5).
  • Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him (Isaiah 43:7).
  • To women: Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price (1 Peter 3:3-4).
  • But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear (1 Peter 3:15).

What freedom does God give to Christian women? Freedom in Him. Freedom from sin. Freedom to know that God is our guide and that His Word can take us by the hand.

Seek Jesus.

Have real freedom.

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him,
If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
(John 8:31-32)


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