#SaudiWomenDemandTheEndOfGuardianship trends on Twitter for the 126th time as the ongoing male guardianship debate rages
Women face restrictions on every aspect of their lives in Saudi Arabia (Wikimedia Commons)
#SaudiWomenDemandTheEndOfGuardianship has reemerged this week in its Arabic form as part of the campaign to end male guardianship in Saudi Arabia. The number 126 has been added to the hashtag to signify the number of times it has been on the Twitter trend list.
Some have accompanied the hashtag with others including “the niqab is not from Islam” and “If only I was not a Saudi woman”, which indicates frustration at the status quo, as well as an English equivalent #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen.
According to an anonymous Saudi activist who spoke to the Loop, the anti-guardianship campaign was started in mid-July, after Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report revealing the injustice of the system of male guardianship in the Kingdom. The campaign began trending using hashtags initiated by HRW, including the English language #TogetherToEndMaleGuardianship and its Arabic translation. However, towards the end of the month, the current incarnation of the Arabic hashtag emerged among Saudi women themselves, and it has done so on over a hundred occasions since, with a number added to the end for each reappearance.
The HRW report, entitled “Boxed In: Women and Saudi Arabia’s Male Guardianship System,” described male guardianship as “the most significant impediment to women’s rights in the country despite limited reforms over the last decade.” The guardianship system refers to the social and legal restrictions placed on women in the country which require them to have a male guardian, usually their fathers or husbands, who are responsible for making decisions on their behalf. The system requires that women receive male permission for almost all of their everyday activities including travelling, working, studying and receiving medical treatment.
Here are a selection of the experiences and opinions shared by Saudis during the most recent trend:
#سعوديات_نطلب_اسقاط_الولايه126— fawaz (@fawazfahed7) November 10, 2016
يرددون"المرأة بالغرب رخيصة"
هناك هي حره بأن تكون رخيصه أو لا
لكن هناتقـذف بمجرد طلبها لحقها
وليس لأنها رخيصه!
#SaudiWomenDemandEndMaleGuardianship126 The say "Women are cheap [not valued, loose] in the West." There they are free to be cheap or not but here they are rejected just for asking for their rights and not because they are cheap!
وصلت المرأه لترشيح الرئاسة بأقوى دولة بالعالم وأصبحت رئيسة في 17دولة أجنبيه ولكن مازالت عندنا فاقدة للأهلية#سعوديات_نطلب_اسقاط_الولايه126— نهاوند (@nahawnd989) November 10, 2016
A woman has achieved presidential nomination of the strongest country in the world and became the head of 17 foreign states, but we still lack eligibility!
#سعوديات_نطلب_اسقاط_الولايه126— F̲άϊяųƶكلنا_مريم# (@i1_ee) November 10, 2016
تفائلوا خير بداية السنه2017
ستكون سنة نهوض المرأه السعوديه ستقود السياره وستسقط الولايه وسنه تعيسه للملتحين
Be optimistic for good things happening at the beginning of 2017. It will be the year of the advancement of Saudi women, they will drive cars and male guardianship will fall. It will be a deplorable year for the bearded people.
الذكور ينظرون للمرأه كعدو لانهم لا يريدون لها ان تحصل على امتيازاتهم، يريدونها لانفسهم فقط. الانانييون #سعوديات_نطلب_اسقاط_الولايه126— حقاً؟؟ (@srsly222) November 10, 2016
Men view of women as an enemy because they do not want them to gain any form of prestige, they want them for themselves only. Selfish people.
They don't know anything about their religion, except about the woman and her veil, yet they are its angels on Earth!!!!
I am tired of the mentality of some people, I wish that I was not living in this backwards generation.
Despite the hashtag’s ongoing popularity, the campaign faces considerable resistance, both from the authorities and from many across Saudi society, both men and women. Back in September CNN Arabic reported that a member of the Senior Scholars Body, Sheikh Abdallah al-Mani’, had responded to the hashtag by saying: "Women are their own guardians in all matters of life, and there is no guardianship [imposed upon her] except in marriage, and she has the same rights as a man." It goes without saying that this statement is a complete contradiction of government policy and prevailing social norms.
Many have used the hashtag on Twitter to ridicule the anti-guardianship campaign:
#سعوديات_نطلب_اسقاط_الولايه126— E (@loolee_alzhrani) November 10, 2016
(الرجال قوامون على النساء)
يعني أصحاب هالشتاقات يأكلون هوا
(Men are the protectors on women) [a Quranic verse] Which means that the people who created this hashtag are talking hot air. Listen to you shout!
باب الدوله مفتوح فمن كان له حق فليذهب ومن حقه ان يأخذه ولكن انتم عملاء ضد الدين والوطن وهدفكم وقح ولن تنالوه#سعوديات_نطلب_اسقاط_الولايه126—. أبو العز (@abdulaziz14009) November 10, 2016
The door of the country is open, so whoever has the right to, let him go and may his rights take him, but you are agents against religion and the homeland and your aim is shameless and you will not achieve it.
انسووو الموضوع هلاري ماصارت رئيسه#سعوديات_نطلب_اسقاط_الولايه126— عطر (@everythinyaz12) November 10, 2016
Forget it, Hillary didn’t become President
الولايه ماراح تسقط— . (@Meem_p7) November 10, 2016
وإن شاء الله تنقرضون ومايبقى منكم أحد
Male guardianship will not fall, and I hope that you all just disappear, and none of you remain
In spite of such opposition, it seems doubtful that the campaign will disappear, as it enters its fifth month, and 127th time trending.