Getting potential voters to register and cast their votes is an ongoing effort for the League. The early League leaders concentrated on encouraging women to use their newly obtained ballot, but now we make an all-out effort to get everyone to vote. It’s easy to forget that women around the world are not always considered potential voters. The Los Angeles Times today has a chilling story from a woman who has worked as a reporter in Saudi Arabia. Saudi women are not allowed to vote any more than they are allowed to drive a car. The story quotes young, educated women who ask “Why should I vote when I have a father or husband who can vote?” The truth is that no matter how much some Saudi women may proclaim that they are completely satisfied with conditions in their country, it is hard to believe that the constant restrictions don’t affect their view of themselves. When a person is treated as a danger, a temptation to men who must be hidden away in the back room of restaurants and in separate lines in banks, there must be a feeling of isolation and of being less important to the life of the country than men are. Unfortunately, the United States government and American corporations don’t mind going along with these regulations and taking advantage of the rich Saudi economy and oil reserves. Even Starbucks forbids women sitting down to drink their lattes without going into a hidden room in the back of the store. Perhaps its time for the League to turn its attention to pushing for changes in this policy. Next time you sip a coffee in Starbucks while you check email on your laptop, take the time to send the company a message complaining about their willingness to go along with oppressive laws in rich foreign countries.
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