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Introducing myself and my journal: In the eyes of an activist

My Areas of Expertise:
human rights, women's rights, Middle East

It is a dire situation in Saudi Arabia for women, where they are not allowed to vote, run for political office, drive, and are legally considered less than men with no power over their own affairs. Women are not allowed to participate in professional sports, attend schools for sciences and engineering, and are segregated to “women only” facilities. Women must also seek permission from their male guardians to receive medical attention, attend college for a “woman appropriate field”, travel, open a bank account, apply for a business license, and apply for a cell phone. Numerous young girls are forced into oppressive child marriages, and although half of college graduates are women, only a minute five to ten percent make up the work force.

The Institute for Gulf Affairs believes that this is unacceptable in the 21st century, and will be initiating the No Women. No Play. campaign to pressure Saudi Arabia into allowing women to participate in the 2012 Olympic Games. If the Kingdom fails to comply, we will pressure the Olympic Committee to ban Saudi Arabia from the Games in accordance with the Olympic Charter. The charter denies countries that discriminate based on race, gender, race and religion. We feel this is necessary because Saudi Arabia is the only country that outright bans women from participation in sports and the Olympics. Women cannot become athletes, managers, coaches or trainers for the national teams.

The International Olympic Committee is falling behind in adhering to its own standards of nondiscrimination by enforcing some and ignoring others. For example, South Africa was excluded from the Olympic Games in 1964 for its apartheid policies, but the IOC continues to allow participation in the Olympics of countries who do not allow women on their Olympic teams. Additionally, Afghanistan under the Taliban was banned from the 2000 Olympics, at least in part due to its treatment of women.

Our institution is specifically focusing on human rights infringements in Saudi Arabia. Although it is an extremely wealthy country, the ruling Al-Saud monarchy fails to recognize and deliver equality and basic human rights towards their female citizens.

We are asking for your help in changing the status of women in Saudi Arabia. We are asking for you to join our campaign and defend human rights in Saudi Arabia. On July 31 at Dupont Circle in Washington D.C. at 2pm, the Gulf Institute is launching the No Women. No Play. campaign and we would be honored to have your support. We know with your support, this will be a successful campaign, and we can end gender apartheid.

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