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The Prospects and Limits of Women's Mobilization in Saudi Arabia

Chatham House, London

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Professor Madawi Al-Rasheed, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, King's College London
Chair: Dr Maha Azzam, Associate Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House 


Saudi women face obstacles to emancipation and gender equality. Explanations often include factors such as radical religious tradition and conservative social and cultural norms. Professor Al-Rasheed will propose a different interpretation that situates the issue in the structural context of an authoritarian state that denies both men and women basic civil and political rights. She will discuss the recent ‘mobilization’ of Saudi women – which included a driving campaign and the feminization of lingerie shops – in the context of the Arab Spring.