What Does It Mean To Be a Woman in Modern Saudi Arabia? Listen In!
Video Editors: Kunal Mehra, Rahul Sanpui
Graphics: Harsh Sahani
What’s the one thing that runs faster than we can imagine, the one thing we seem to be running out of? Time.
For Saudi Arabian women, time has been running at a rapid pace, with monumental changes in the law. On 24 June 2018, Saudi Arabia lifted its long-standing ban on women driving.
In the past ten years, Saudi women entrepreneurs entered the global scene. They have been investing their time in sports, beauty and fashion, filmmaking, photography, hospitality, and every other field imaginable.
How are these activities viewed by those around them? Do changes in the law necessarily mean changes in social attitudes as well?
In this season of ‘Have Voice Will Talk’, a podcast series that brings you unique voices on issues that matter, we find out.
Meet the ‘Arab Hawaiian Hippie’
In the first episode of ‘Have Voice Will Talk’, we spoke to the award-winning yoga teacher, Hanan Faiz from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Hanan, who refers to herself as ‘Arab Hawaiian Hippie’, wasn’t always a yoga teacher. In fact, she started her career as a nurse.
Hanan had to quit her nursing job after only two years and then she began to travel around the world, learning and teaching yoga.
What Do Saudi Women Do in Their Spare Time?
According to Hanan, the usual thing that people do in Saudi Arabia is go to the mall or the beach (if you have access) on weekends. Women can’t swim in public beaches in Saudi Arabia because of hijab, but you do find women in bikinis in private beach resorts.
“Now, We’re Endless.”
Hanan recounts being young in the days of King Fahd when there was a lot of suppression. She says that it was King Abdullah who changed things for Saudi women.
Women wouldn’t put their pictures up on Facebook ten years ago, says Hanan. That has, of course, changed.
Social media now occupies a significant position in the lives of Saudi women, who use various platforms to not only promote their businesses but also to assert their identities.
(‘Have Voice Will Talk’ is a podcast that connects you with people who have something to say. Sifting through digital noise, we bring you unique voices on issues that matter. Hey, you’re one story away from seeing the world afresh!)