Opinion

Sobering plight of Saudi women under guardianship system

To the editor: Your front-page article talked of the guardianship system in Saudi Arabia where women are not their own persons and may even be abused by their guardians. (“When fleeing abuse is a crime,” July 30, and “The secret apartment,” July 31)

A recent op-ed in your opinion section spoke of stillbirths in El Salvador being treated as illegal abortions with young mothers being sentenced to prison terms.

A news article described the men in a village in India decreeing the rape of the sister of a boy who had raped another village girl.

Your paper has also spoken out recently on "Trumpian" gag rules and cuts to international reproductive health and family planning.

All these stories are pieces in a puzzle named gender inequality, which is, in its breadth and depth, the greatest human rights scourge on the planet today.

Jane Roberts, Redlands

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To the editor: Your article on the plight of girls and women living in Saudi Arabia, a country that Trump not only praises but also sells billions in arms, a textbook scenario of what happens when a male-centric fabricated religion controls the government.

How truly sad to be a female living in that country.

This is why our Constitution puts up an unbending wall between church and state.

But a minority of so-called Americans would do exactly the same if given the chance.

S.R. Fischer, Los Angeles

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To the editor: I am glad we live in a society that recognizes the equal value of all cultures and refuses to believe some cultures are superior to others.

I am glad we have evolved to the point where we recognize the phrase “Western culture” as a dog-whistle for white, male privilege.

Otherwise, I would have concluded that life of Maha Almutairi, the Saudi woman who must live a secret life to escape the dictatorial control of her male guardian, is somehow inferior to our world.

I am sure Almutairi would be happier if she learns to appreciate the inherent value of Saudi culture and understands that it is just different, not inferior, to Western culture and the life women live here.

Saudi culture places her guardian in a superior position. Who is she (or we) to buck cultural convention?

Jerry Travers, Los Angeles

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