Women's History
Women of Saudi Arabia: Respected or Restricted?

Women of Saudi Arabia: Respected or Restricted?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.59

     challenging words:    feeble-minded, handset, headscarves, nicholson, non-relative, rifled, ownership, discrimination, best, burning, inferior, operate, refused, writing, recliner, social
     content words:    Saudi Arabia, Amnesty International

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Women of Saudi Arabia: Respected or Restricted?
By Brenda B. Covert

1     Olivia Sharp's head throbbed. Mrs. Nicholson had assigned her a paper on women's rights in Saudi Arabia. Her best friend, Harmony, was writing about women's rights in Canada. Why couldn't Olivia have received as easy an assignment? Why did Mrs. Nicholson enjoy torturing Olivia with difficult assignments?
2     Yes, difficult it was. Olivia's research had uncovered descriptions of gross injustice and discrimination against women, but on the other side were accusations that claims of discrimination were exaggerated or false. Which side was telling the truth? How could she possibly find out?
3     Her mother had been no help. "What do I look like, a social studies teacher?" Mrs. Sharp had responded from her recliner. Then she drew a hand across her face. "I'm sorry. I had a rotten day, but that's no reason to take it out on you. I have a million things to do, but I really need a few moments of peace." She sighed. "Listen, you can figure this problem out for yourself. I'm sure whatever you work out will be fine."
4     Discouraged, Olivia slunk out of the room. Her mother always seemed to be tired at the end of the day. Her father nearly always came home late. Olivia would faint if he ever offered to help her with her homework. Bryan and his sports activities got more attention than Olivia ever got.
5     Olivia picked up the phone. Maybe whining to Harmony would make her feel better.
6     It didn't. Harmony was decorating cupcakes for her little sister to share with her classmates. She suggested that Olivia call Mrs. Nicholson about her research. That was the last thing Olivia wanted to do! She didn't want Mrs. Nicholson to think that she - Olivia - was having difficulties with her paper!
7     Eventually she worked up the courage and made the call. Relief flooded through her when her teacher greeted her cheerfully. She quickly explained her problem.
8     In the moment of silence that followed, Olivia wondered anxiously whether Mr. Nicholson thought she was feeble-minded.
9     Mrs. Nicholson spoke slowly and thoughtfully. "First you must consider the source and whether it might be biased," she advised. "What sources say that Saudi women are treated well?"

Paragraphs 10 to 24:
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