Only in S. Arabia, Is a woman a human being?

A course being offered in a Saudi academic institution titled Is a Woman a Human Being? provoked an angry response on social media, both in Saudi Arabia and abroad.

Announcement for the course in the Saudi academy 'Is a Woman a Human Being?'

The course, which was to begin Monday in the Saudi Academy for Training and Consulting, was ultimately cancelled due to the criticism. In response, a special hashtag was launched #thewomanisahumanbeing.

In announcing the course’s cancellation, the academy published a clarification saying it would not allow any denigration of Muslim women. However, the academy also said the cancellation of the course had nothing to do with the course’s content, which remained under wraps. It also said it was surprised by the intense reaction, saying previous courses that used the same title didn’t garner any reaction.

The head of the academy, Hani el-Chamdon, said the course title was in the form of a question in order to attract attention, but many people assumed the worse, that the course was meant to disparage women.

El-Chamdon added he received many phone calls about the course, some from Arab states demanding an explanation of the course’s content. He said the negative way society sees women is why people took the title the wrong way, adding that the title’s real meaning is that woman are actually above the level of a “human being.”

He emphasized if a person belittles women, it means he is also belittling his mother, sister, wife and daughter.

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