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In historic shift, Saudis to allow some girls' sports

In historic shift, Saudis to allow some girls' sports | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it

"Private girls' schools are now allowed to hold sports activities in accordance with the rules of Shariah, or Islamic law. Students must adhere to 'decent dress' codes and Saudi women teachers will be given priority in supervising the activities, according to the Education Ministry's requirements.  The decision makes sports once again a stage for the push to improve women's rights, nearly a year after two Saudi female athletes made an unprecedented appearance at the Olympics."  This news comes at a time when Saudi Arabia has allowed women to ride bikes (sort of).

 

Tags: Saudi Arabia, culture, gender, religion, Middle East.


Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I never really understood the idea of telling people to or forcing them to act certain ways.  Our lives are not 'ours;' they belong to the world around us, within us and without us, not us.  I think that the girls being allowed to do certain things, like sports, is a good thing, not great.  Sports, in my opinion, are not the essence of life.  I believe in pursuing spirituality, and I think it is good that the girls are allowed to play sports in accordance with Islamic law, but in this ever-changing world that we live in, my own non-extending personal thoughts are that any law from a religion, should encourage opportunities, not prevent or encroach on them.  Cultures are different, and I'm not even really about to suggest my thoughts to anybody that might take it harshly, but it seems to me that whatever cultural laws and traits that inhibit functions such as sports, or have done so, are being put there by someone else that clearly is not as negatively affected by the 'laws.'  I know police that have smoked marijuana, I know politicians that have broken the law, and I see these things as "Eh, whatever," because it doesn't really affect me.  I wonder who, even in accordance to the cosmic beliefs of Islam (I'm open to a deity as an answer), put these laws here that have restricted school sports...

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Hector Alonzo's curator insight, November 9, 2014 9:37 PM

Women in Saudi Arabia are usually restricted to life in the house and cannot be unaccompanied in public, but allowing Saudi women to play sports is a leap into the future of women's rights in the Middle Eastern country. The women shown in the picture above are seen in traditional dress while training, showing the governments enforcement of rules in this historic move into the future.

Lena Minassian's curator insight, March 22, 4:24 PM

I was happy to see an article like this. It's about time that these women are being given equal opportunities. Although they have a long way to go this is a step in the right direction. Saudi Arabian girls are being allowed to have sport related activities within their private schools. This did surprise me a little just because Saudi women's rights are very limited but this is a simple improvement just to the general health and well being of these girls. Two females competed in the last years summer Olympics representing Saudi Arabia and their efforts were not shown on Saudi TV. These women competing has opened a few doors to allowing more than just men to engage in these activities. Usually sports were only for the elite women who could afford gym memberships or attend well known colleges. Even though women cannot compete internationally or sign up for clubs or leagues this is a step in the right direction.

Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 4:47 PM

This is an interesting article about slowly allowing women in Saudi Arabia to participate in sports. While playing soccer or swimming or running may not seem so important to us in the West, it is a big deal for Saudi women. Saudi Arabia has some of the strictest laws in the Middle East regarding women's rights, and so even a very partial and gradual allowance for women to engage in sports is a big step. It shows perhaps a slight softening of adherence to Shariah law, which would hopefully eventually allow women more freedom in the realms of education and work, as well as in everyday life. 

 

Too often are people quick to judge and characterize other cultures or religions by the most extreme examples. While it is true that laws in Saudi Arabia are extremely restrictive to women, progress such as this, though small, may well act as a stepping stone for increased freedoms for women. People outside of Saudi Arabia and Islamic culture must realize that this kind of progress does happen and is, in fact, happening right now. To simply dismiss Saudi culture as misogynistic and oppressive is to write the whole culture off. While progress is slow and less than ideal, we should look to Saudi Arabia's Islamic neighbors and see that many of them are not so oppressive to women. Allowing Saudi women to participate in sports, therefore, may be setting up the country to increase women's rights and join its relatively more liberal neighbors. This is certainly a sign of positive change, and one that should not be ignored. 

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European women marry, give hope to Samaritans

European women marry, give hope to Samaritans | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it
MOUNT GERIZIM, West Bank (AP) — The Samaritans, a rapidly dwindling sect dating to biblical times, have opened their insular community to brides imported from eastern Europe in a desperate quest to preserve their ancient culture.

Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I know a man who is Indian, and his grandparents came from India.  He tells me that their people do not formally or very much at all approve of interbreeding between their people and other cultures.  He says Indians stick with Indians, and that's how it's supposed to be.  I think in the future that the genetic diseases will be abolished by selective characteristic modification through reproductive alteration using technology- I think DNA modification will become a popular trick in both reproduction and everyday life that will allow for the end of illness.  This would allow people to marry into other cultures without fear of genetic complications, but they would still have that cultural barrier my Indian acquaintence referred to.  That same dude has some funny insight about Italians and other cultures, and noted that Italian-Americans are not really Italian at all.  We had a couple of interesting discussions regarding different cultures, and he told me that he is 100% Indian.  I don't mean to seem degrading AT ALL but the first thing that popped into my head was how people breed dogs to be purebreds, which are coveted and expensive, as well as pure.  I'm a blend of many different nationalities, and I'm proud of it... The universe is a blend of many nationalities, and I ever-ponder my connection with the Universe, and it's nice to know that I have a commonality with the Universe!

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Cam E's curator insight, February 18, 2014 12:00 PM

It's a very interesting and sad phenomenon when groups that thrived in the past begin to dwindle to a point where the acts of individuals can decide the entire future of the demographic. It brings in questions of tradition and if those people have a duty to propagate their genes to keep their group alive. I can only imagine how tense the environment could be when single accidents or deaths could mean the end of your people.

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 1, 2014 12:14 PM

This article describes a how the small religious group, the Samaritans, have seen their numbers shrink to unsustainable levels and have been forced to turn outside to find wives. These men are importing brides from places like Ukraine because of a significant gender imbalance and heightened risk of birth defects due to genetic homogenization over the centuries. These circumstances present an fairly unique case of migration, one which should it become a standard practice, could have an effect on the culture of the Samaritan communities.

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 17, 2014 9:43 PM

The Samaritans, a rapidly dwindling sect dating to biblical times, have opened their insular community to brides imported from eastern Europe in a desperate quest to preserve their ancient culture. Five young women from Russia and Ukraine have moved to this hilltop village in recent years to marry local men, breathing new life into the community that has been plagued by genetic diseases caused by generations of intermarriage. Husni Cohen, a 69-year-old village elder, said the marriages are not ideal, since there is always a risk that the newcomers may decide to leave. But in a community whose population has fallen to roughly 360 people, he saw little choice.