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THE CHANGING STATUS OF WOMEN IN THE MIDDLE EAST:Regretfully, many repressive, prohibitive, restrictive laws, rules and practices on women are associated with the Muslim world today. Numerous traditions and customs, from the pre-Islamic male-dominant tribal culture, have been the main foundation of this despotic mentality which women have been subjected to for centuries, supposedly in the name of Islam. In reality, they contradict, entirely, the essence of Islam.

However, there have been very promising initiatives that have aimed to soften, or even completely abolished, some of the strict rules that severely limit women’s rights and freedoms in various Muslim countries, especially in the past year. Jordan, Lebanon, and Tunisia are among the countries where these positive developments have taken place.

One of the most talked about countries, in terms of the revolutionary reforms it has enacted in the field of women’s freedoms in the recent period, is undoubtedly Saudi Arabia. There have been pleasant developments in Saudi Arabia recently that can be considered a first in the history of the kingdom. Important steps taken to improve women’s rights and freedoms are at the forefront of these firsts.

In the past few years, the decision to offer physical education to girls in public schools was one of these firsts. The Ministry of Education announced that from the next academic year onwards, physical education classes, specifically for girls, will be introduced to the curriculum in public schools, and the necessary facilities will be provided. The statement came just after King Salman’s decision to soften the kingdom’s guardianship laws so that women in the country would be able to access health and education services without the consent of a male guardian.

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THE CHANGING STATUS OF WOMEN IN THE MIDDLE EAST:Regretfully, many repressive, prohibitive, restrictive laws, rules and practices on women are associated with the Muslim world today. Numerous traditions and customs, from the pre-Islamic male-dominant tribal culture, have been the main foundation of this despotic mentality which women have been subjected to for centuries, supposedly in the name of Islam. In reality, they contradict, entirely, the essence of Islam.