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Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is controlled by fundamentalist Muslims, has created one of the most restricted environments in the world for women. When the country held its first-ever local elections in 2005, only men older than 21 years were allowed to vote. At 90 percent, Arabs form a considerable majority in Saudi Arabia, and all Saudis are officially Muslim. The situation for Saudi women has often been compared with that of aborigines living in South Africa under apartheid. Since Saudi women are considered what some women's rights groups have called “perpetual minors,” they are answerable to mahrams-male guardians-who may be husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, or other male relatives. Saudi women have virtually no freedom of movement. Those younger than 45 ...

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