Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Saudi Text Books To Include Female Photos- first time ever

Here's a big deal for the Saudis. They are finally including photographs, instead of drawings, of women in their English high school text books. This is the first time the Saudi State education system has allowed such a thing since its creation in 1926. Of course the women are veiled, so you can't really tell they're women. In fact, you could dress men up in the niqab and pass them off as female, and no-one would be any wiser.

The current academic year, however, saw the circulation of the first series of books that include women’s pictures. The new copies are still in the experimental phase, however, and the final authorization for the books to be in full circulation is set to take place at the end of the academic year.


An English book, part of the third year of high school, contains a picture of a nurse wearing a headscarf and a medical mask while preparing an injection. The exercise accompanying the photo asks students to discuss the changes in the percentage of men and women in traditional occupations.

There is also a photo of a girl standing in a lab. The woman was apparently not veiled in the original picture and an additional part was added in the school book to cover her face.

The appearance of women’s photos is not the only change in the English curriculum. There is a general focus on girls and their educational role in the professional world.

One tiny step forward, I guess.

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