Just like a hologram that changes as one ever so slightly turns the angle by which she is looking, I saw a different side of these Saudi Arabian women than the oppressed females who are constantly being portrayed in the media.
These women are incredibly intelligent. While their education might be segregated after a certain age, most of the girls will not only complete high school, but many will go on to partake in the largest scholarship program in the world and study abroad at various universities. One of the most fascinating lunches we had was with a roundtable of women ranging from the first female lawyer to entrepreneurs, and from a filmmaker to a coach. The ladies we met were incredibly inspiring not only because of their intelligence, but also their determination, resourcefulness and resolve.
They recognize that the road to progress is paved with passion as well as patience, and they are relentless in their pursuit to push forward.Courtesy Ruth RileyThe Saudi players’ eagerness to learn more about basketball left a lasting impression on Ruth Riley.Besides the incredible hospitality that was shown to us everywhere we went, there was another common theme at all of our clinics. Regardless of age, we found that all the players were extremely excited to absorb anything we could teach them.
It would be unrealistic for us to have an expectation of a high talent level in a society that does not openly accept — let alone promote — female sports.
The habit does not make the monk, they say. For the good and the bad.
That is… an abaya and a veil won’t make anyone a worst person… nor a better one.
And same as this… not wearing covers won’t make you free.
Same as wearing them won’t liberate you.