Another Saudi woman has turned to social media for protection from her father, just days after Canada granted refuge to Rahaf al-Qunun, the 18-year-old Saudi who fled her family. Identified only as Nojoud al-Mandeel on Twitter, her case differs from that of al-Qunun. She has not fled the kingdom, has not revealed her face and has only made her pleas for help on Twitter in Arabic. On Monday, al-Mandeel posted an audio clip on Twitter, alleging that her father had beaten and burnt her "over something trivial". She also posted a video looking onto a neighbour's gated pool, where she says she jumped from her bedroom window before a friend picked her up and they escaped.
FILE - These two undated file photos provided by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) show sisters Rotana, left, and Tala Farea, whose fully clothed bodies, bound together with tape and facing each other, were discovered on on the banks of New York City's Hudson River waterfront on Oct. 24, 2018. The apparent suicide the sisters highlights the often secretive and risky attempts by Saudi women trying to flee abusive families. DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The deaths of two young Saudi sisters, whose bodies washed up along the New York City waterfront last month, have shined a light on the often secretive and risky journeys Saudi women take to flee their homes, both within the kingdom and abroad. Tala Farea, 16, and Rotana Farea, 23, ran away from home in Fairfax, Virginia before being placed in a shelter amid allegations they were abused at home. They then made their way to New York City, staying in high-end hotels and eventually maxing out the older sister's credit card.
"This is a statement with the names of the whores who had fallen prey to vice and corruption." So began a public list naming 47 Saudi women who, almost 27 years ago, circled around the Saudi capital Riyadh in their cars. It was an act of defiance against a ban on female drivers that was no less absolute for being unofficial. In the days that followed, the women were vilified by thousands of "Mutawaeen," the Saudi religious police tasked with applying the country's harsh interpretation of Sharia, or Islamic law. Many lost their friends, jobs and even their passports.
Saudi women are driving freely through busy city streets for the first time after years of risking arrest if they dared to get behind the wheel. And with the longstanding ban now lifted, a new opportunity has emerged: Working as drivers. It's a job that had been reserved for men only and one that until recently even many Saudi males rejected as socially taboo. Driving was almost entirely the job of foreigners, often lower-income and from countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Saudi women who want to work as drivers -- for ride-hailing services like Uber, for example -- are challenging an even wider array of traditional limits on women's rights and are part of a wave of change that has drawn resistance from parts of the male community in the deeply conservative country.
Saudi Arabia's unemployment rate rose to 12.7 percent in the first quarter of 2017, continuing its steady climb as the economy grapples with the fallout of low oil prices, official data showed on Sunday. The rising number of unemployed highlights the immense challenge Riyadh faces in meeting pledges to create jobs for its nationals amid a protracted economic slowdown. The jobless rate is now more than a full percentage point above where it stood in the same quarter of last year, when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced his Vision 2030 reform plan to diversify the economy beyond oil. According to the Saudi Press Agency, the latest statistics show that the total number of Saudis seeking jobs is 906,552, of which around 219,000 are men and 687,500 are women.The plan aims to cut the unemployment rate to seven percent by 2030, among a raft of other targets. Authorities are also introducing new fees and sector restrictions to encourage the employment of Saudis while reducing the kingdom's reliance on its 11 million foreign workers.