Many women from Saudi Arabia are annoyed that occidental observers often criticize the inadequacies of their country and concentrate on questions of sexual segregation, but can't see the real problems that women themselves consider far more frustrating, such as the veiling or the prohibition against their driving.
Gihan Ramadan, in a commentary published by the daily Arab News, said Saudi women were more worried about finding good work in a hard jobs market than about wearing a veil. She then criticized the barriers that prevent Saudi women from putting their education and energy to work. Only six per cent of women are categorized as workers, many in the fields of teaching, nursing, medicine, or charity work. Although many women do really need to work, there are also many restrictions on their participation in various professions.
Many people say tradition and culture, not Islam, maintain these restrictions, and that religion really supports women's rights both at home and at work. Muslims say their sacred book, the Koran, established women economic and social rights long before occidental women got them. Islam, they say, assures women's own control of their family possessions and gives them property rights.