„‚We’re not allowed to even go to the supermarket without permission or a companion, and that’s a simple thing on the huge, horrendous list of rules we have to follow.” – Dotops, 24. ‚The male guardianship makes my life like a hell!! We want to hang out with our friends, go and have lunch outside. I feel hopeless.‘ – Juju19, 21. ‚I don’t mind taking my dad’s approval in things he should be a part of. These very strong social bonds you will never, ever understand.‘ – Noura. These are three of the nearly 6,000 women from Saudi Arabia who wrote to The New York Times last week about their lives.
We had put a call-out on our website and on Twitter in conjunction with the publication of ‚Ladies First,‘ a Times documentary I directed about the first Saudi elections in which women were allowed to vote and run for local office. Saudi Arabia is an incredibly private, patriarchal society. While I was making the film, many women were afraid to share their stories for fear of backlash from the male relatives who oversee all aspects of their lives as so-called guardians. We wanted to hear more about their fears, their frustrations, their ambitions.“ (Mona El-Naggar: „‚I Live in a Lie‘: Saudi Women Speak Up“)