Saudi University Allegedly Left Student Amna Bawazeer To Die Because She’s Female

Amna Bawazeer died because of draconian laws…

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by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

Laws in Saudi Arabia are mind-bogglingly anti-woman. Women will only get the vote in 2015 (a good 97 years after the UK allowed women to vote), they’re not allowed to drive and they’re not allowed to go out in public with a man who is not a relative or their husband. You’d sort of think that these restrictions on their existence would keep them safe from harm – when you’ve got hardly any choices, how on earth can you take a risk? But, when it comes to the law that women aren’t allowed to be seen by male doctors*, there’s potentially a lot of risk.

Amna Bawazeer, a 24-year-old student with an alleged history of heart problems, suffered a heart attack while at King Saud University in Riyadh at about 11am on Wednesday. However, according to people on campus, she wasn’t seen by paramedics until 12.45pm. The result? She died. But why? Well, the male paramedics were not allowed onto the all-female campus to attend to Amna, according to Okaz, a local newspaper. Her death has since become part of a national conversation about gender segregation, and professors are calling for an investigation into what happened: ‘We need management who can make quick decisions without thinking of what the family will say or what culture will say,' said Professor Aziza Youssef.

The university’s rector has rushed to say that there was no medical stand-offishness: ‘They called the ambulance at 12:35pm and ambulance staff was there by 12:45pm and entered immediately.’ Which of course you'd hope emerges to be the truth. But in the meantime it feels right to talk about a law that's very wrong.

*Lawmakers see no irony in other laws restricting women’s access to education to become doctors, though. At present, if a woman's husband or male relatives don't want her to study, they can stop her from studying. Bleak.

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

Picture: Getty

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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