The AP reports on the high number of deaths of Saudi women commuting to teaching jobs. Here’s how the problem arises:
- “Job opportunities are scarce for women in Saudi Arabia, mainly limited to teaching and health care.” (I doubt we’re talking about radiology, either.)
- “The Saudi Education Ministry appoints thousands of male and female teachers to fill vacancies every year at government-run schools in remote areas.”
- “Female teachers find it difficult to move because they need permission from a male guardian to live alone and have to find a landlord willing to rent them an apartment.”
- As a result, many women live in the city and commute to remote rural areas.
- “Women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, so the teachers must hire drivers — sometimes sharing rides in minivans, leaving home as early as 3 a.m.
- The Saudi roads on which female teachers spend countless hours are among the most dangerous in the world:
Nearly 6,000 people died in traffic accidents in 2007 in this country of 27.6 million, according to the Saudi Traffic Department. That is a rate of around 21 deaths per 100,000 people — one of the highest in the world. By comparison, around 14 per 100,000 people were killed in road accidents in the United States in 2006, according to the most recent statistics from the Transportation Department.
- As a result, female teachers are dying in car accidents at an alarming rate:
A study released in October by the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology found that female teachers commuting to their jobs have about a 50 percent greater chance of getting into car accidents than average Saudi citizens. Its findings were based on figures from the late 1990s.
The worst thing about this is how little I’m shocked.