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By Crystal Clear Liberty
Royal Brunei airlines first all-female pilot crew landed a Boeing 787 in a country that will not allow them to drive a car. In February three women piloted an airplane from Brunei to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. That’s a pretty impressive middle finger to the patriarchy and win for feminists. Royal Brunei airlines has expressed a desire for more women in top flight positions and offers an engineering apprentice program to young people to help fill those pilot chairs. The women, Captain Sharifah Czarena Surainy Syed Hashim, Senior First Officer Dk Nadiah Pg Khashiem and Senior First Officer Sariana Nordin, are genuine lady heroes pursuing a career in a male dominated field and pushing the boundaries of Middle Eastern countries where oppression of women, minorities, and LGBTQI people are very real and often violent. Read More
While women in America went marching for the ever ambiguous cause of women’s rights, we may have missed genuine wins for women elsewhere along the way. Feminism in the United States can easily come across as privileged and dare I say it…even a little whiney in comparison to the struggles women face in other parts of the globe. While American women enjoy the right to vote, the right to freedom of speech, and the right to work, other women are still enduring slavery, genital mutilation, and culturally accepted rape. It would be irresponsible to present all Middle Eastern women as oppressed, but it would be hard to argue women are free and equal citizens throughout the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia has long been one of the countries where women endure a genuine lack of rights and oppression. The country operates with a guardianship system that prevents women from doing even the most basic things like swimming, interacting with men, or driving a car. Saudi women are culturally prohibited from driving a car under threat of imprisonment. Let that sink in for a moment and it won’t be too hard to see why a female crew landing a plane in Saudi Arabia is such a big victory for women. Seven Things Women in Saudi Arabia Cannot Do
Perspective is a funny thing. When you live in a country that affords women legal equality with men, it might be tempting to focus on the social and cultural mores you feel may be still holding women back. Yet, when you look at the plight of women in America and compare it to someplace like Saudi Arabia, we are indeed, privileged. I do not suggest that feminists in America abandon the issues they so passionately champion, rather that they remember that perspective is a funny thing. I would ask that they devote as much time and effort into ending the violent oppression of women that occurs every day; as they do to defending access to equal pay, normalizing free bleeding during menstruation, and the right to terminate the life of children in utero.