WOMEN RULE... NOT ARABIAN FEMALES

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Saudi Arabia has finally agreed to send women athletes to compete in the Olympics.

It's only taken them 116 years to do it, but for the first time in Summer Olympic history, every nation competing includes female athletes. Today, during the opening ceremonies for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the torch for women's rights is also on display for the world to see.

But as many know, things aren't always as they appear on TV. While Saudi women have been given a small opening to compete for Olympic glory on the world's stage, they still won't be able to enjoy basic rights such as getting behind the wheel of a car at home. That reality is shameful. Saudi officials should know that the whole world is watching now and when the Olympics are over. Let women drive!

Restricting a woman's right to drive stems from a desire to limit a woman's independence. Saudi Arabia's leaders have relegated women to second class status by requiring them to ask their male guardian - typically a father, brother or husband - before they can even go out in public.

Want to marry? Ask your guardian. Want to work? Ask your guardian. Want to go to school, get on public transportation, or go to the doctor? That's right, their guardian must give his approval first.

And don't even think about playing a sport - even going to the gym is restricted. In fact, the athletes competing for Saudi Arabia in the Olympics have only been able to achieve their successes within the sport because they do not practice in the country.

Stand up for women's equality - behind the wheel of a car, in a sports arena, inside the home and throughout Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah.