I, for one, was shocked to learn that in Saudi Arabia, women were only recently allowed to work and operate businesses, and are still not allowed to drive cars or even bicycles. I was even more shocked to learn that they are still not allowed to serve in the Cabinet and that the reason given for this is that it is '"Islamically prohibited." It is not shown anywhere in Islam that women are not allowed to do any of the above. In fact, I find evidence of the exact opposite. Women have been given places in government, in courts, education, business, and on the battlefield, as shown below.
During the reign of the Caliph Umar (r), a woman named Shifa bint Abdullah was appointed to run the affairs of trade and commerce, and also as an advisor. Dozens of women, among them Aishah (r), Umm Aiman (r), and Hafsa (r), were well versed in Islamic law and often consulted in finer points of the law and had places in Islamic court.
There are obviously no references to women driving cars, as they didn't exist back then, but women were definitely using other modes of transportation, such as horses and camels.
Women were given education; several of them were literate and there were dozens of poetesses with published works, among them Zainab bint Awam and Khansa (r). They were also working in agriculture, particularly in Medina, and ran businesses, the most famous of which was Khadija (r) the wife of the Prophet, who met him when she employed him to do trade. Many ladies sold perfumes as business, and Saudah (r), another wife of the Prophet, operated a leather tanning business. Several others did not exactly operate businesses, but opened mosques in their houses.
Furthermore, other women even fought on the battlefield, the most famous of whom was Umm Ammarah, who fought with her son. She saved the Prophet (and other soldiers') lives several times and fought very valiantly, to the point where she lost an arm in combat. On the battlefield, many women served as nurses and brought water to soldiers; preceding the famous Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton.
I hope that, with knowledge of the above facts, the Saudi Arabian Kingdom will give women the rights they deserve and stop tarnishing the name of Islam by portraying it as a religion which oppresses women. However, religion is okay in politics. Just as long as it's not twisted to justify the wrong stuff.