Saudi Arabia has done it again. A ban on women entering a Starbucks store in Riyadh is the latest in a long line of restrictions that it has imposed on them.
A Starbucks reportedly denied a woman entry to its store this week after religious police reportedly noticed that the “gender barrier” inside the coffee shop had been compromised.
These gender barriers are reportedly present in every restaurant and even in food courts to keep men and women separate.
An appalling sign all in caps which reads “PLEASE NO ENTRY FOR LADIES ONLY,” “SEND YOUR DRIVER TO ORDER THANK YOU” recently surfaced on Twitter to further highlight the treatment of India.
Here's what one woman who was denied entry into the store had to say:
Saudi Arabia’s appalling treatment of women has shocked the world time and again. Let’s try to understand what is to be a woman in Saudi Arabia:
Denied even the basic rights, a woman in Saudi is basically a man’s property. Every woman in Saudi Arabia has to have a male guardian and without him she literally has no existence. Till she ties the knot, she remains the property of her father, but even uncles, brothers and sons can assume the role of a guardian.The conservative country does not allow women to have access to basic rights like healthcare without a male guardian.
Women cannot participate in a wide variety of activities, including interacting with men, entering a cemetery, wearing make-up, or competing in sports.
Such practices are rooted in "conservative traditions and religious views that hold giving freedom of movement to women would make them vulnerable to sins," according to The Guardian.
A woman's access to justice is also restricted for she cannot file a case or even be heard in court without a legal guardian.
In one extreme case, a teenager reported that she had been gang-raped, but because she was not with a guardian when it occurred, she was punished by the court. The victim was given more lashes than one of her alleged rapists received, the Washington Post reports.
These discriminatory practices keep women away from their basic rights, giving them no authority over their own lives forever.
Human right activists across the world have raised their voices against the repressive treatment meted out to them. Last year, a small ray of hope emerged when women were finally allowed to vote in local elections. But as the Starbucks incident shows, there's still a long way to go.