Women in Saudi Arabia are having their movements tracked by the government and sent to their husbands through text message, according to Saudi activists across the country.
News spread about the text message alerts when a couple leaving the country received a message from the government that the wife had crossed the country's border. As part of a new electronic passport system established in 2010, when a woman or child crosses the border into a different country the Interior Ministry sends a text message to alert their male guardian. Originally the alerts were only sent to those who signed up for the service, however the husband who received the message never registered to participate in the service.
When the husband received the message, the couple contacted Manal al-Sharif, a prominent Saudi women's rights activist who protested the ban on women drivers. Al-Sharif immediately began organizing around the alerts and told CNN, "It's very shameful. ...It shows how women are still being treated as minors." As soon as the couple told her what happened, she began to tweet what was happening and it soon went viral.
"It's a power that's being used over women," according Eman Al Nafjan. Al Nafjan is Saudi writer who advocates ending the practice of male guardianship in the country all together. "Women are not free. No matter how old you are, you're always a minor. It's almost like slavery. Guardianship is practically ownership." Currently every woman and underage child in Saudi Arabia must be granted permission to leave the country by their male guardian, who is either their father, husband, or brother.
Media Resources: CNN 11/26/12; BBC News 11/23/12; Huffington Post UK 11/23/12; Al Arabia 11/22/12; Feminist Newswire 6/17/11
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .