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On Feminism and Saudi Arabia

Ivanka Trump addressed women leaders in Saudi Arabia on Sunday. She was careful with her words, not wanting to cause insult to her hosts. “Saudi Arabia’s progress, especially in recent years, is very encouraging… But there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

A lot of work is right: women in Saudi Arabia aren’t allowed to drive or travel without permission from a male relative and that’s just for starters. But everyone has to start somewhere. American women, for instance, couldn’t vote until 1920. Harvard University was founded in 1636, but not until 1879 could women be educated there, and then, only in a special annex created for them, as though they were contagious.

One might tell Saudi Arabian women to take heart, that becoming an enlightened society takes as long as it takes.

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