9 Absurd Limitations On Women’s Rights


A little bit of perspective for your Friday.

1. Shia women in Afghanistan need their husband’s permission to leave the house

This is no ancient law. The Shia Personal Status law was passed in 2009, and includes provisions that require a woman to ask her husband if she can leave the house. It’s also stipulated that she must submit to her husband’s sexual demands…this is otherwise known as marital rape.

2. Women still can’t vote in Saudi Arabia and Vatican City

Women can’t vote in Vatican City because the only voting that takes places are papal elections, and the only people who can vote in those, are Cardinals.

As for women in Saudi Arabia, they’ll finally get to vote starting in 2015. King Abdullah also granted women the right to run in local 2015 elections. How generous.

3. Maybe they can vote for driving rights, which it’s still prohibited for women in Saudi Arabia

There’s no law in Saudi Arabia that explicitly outlaws female drivers, but the country also won’t issue them licenses. Anybody else wondering what the point to this one is?

4.  A man can offer his wife to pay a debt in India

If a man finds himself in debt, he can sell or lend his wife. While this isn’t technically legal, many women don’t file cases. And when they do, few people support them.

5. Rape victims can be charged with a crime in Saudi Arabia

When a teenager in Saudi Arabia went to police reporting that 7 men gang-raped her, the judge on her case sentenced her to more lashes than one of the men received, simply because she was alone with a man who was not her family or husband.

6. Women can be killed by fathers, sons, and husbands for bringing shame on the family

Honor killings—killings that bring shame upon a family for things like having premarital sex, being raped, or refusing an arranged marriage—still happen at an alarming rate and in an alarming amount of countries around the world, including Western ones like Germany and Italy. The Middle East Forum predicts that honor killings are most prevalent in Pakistan, where there might be as many as 5,000 per year.

7. Women can even be stoned to death for having a cell phone in Pakistan

Last year, a tribal court in Pakistan ordered that the family of a mother of two stone her to death for having a cell phone. So they did. Not only does the barbaric practice still exist, but experts think it might be on the rise in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

8. Little girls can be married off  at any age in Sudan and Saudi Arabia

In some countries, the minimum age for marriage is still young, but in Sudan and Saudi Arabia, there are zero age restrictions. Parents can marry off their daughter whenever they please.

9. Baby girls “don’t count” in China

In many cases in China, a family needs a son so badly that they’ll abort a baby girl, or kill her when she’s born before she even has a fighting chance.

It’s why the male to female ratio in the country is so high. You can see it accounted for in the ratio at birth, 1.12 males to every 1 female. The ratio also rises for children ages 0-14, with 1.17 males per every female.

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