Defying the driving ban in Saudi Arabia

The Arabic text says "We're all Manal Al-Sharif"

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are banned from driving a car. This means that women either have to get a chauffeur to drive them, get a male relative to do so, or get a taxi, which is not so safe (public transport is ruled out too, due to the gender segregation rules). The ban is not only annoying and expensive, it can also cost lives, for instance when an emergency happens and someone needs to get to the hospital asap, but no male driver is available.

It’s not a minor offence either, and it’s been heavily criticised, but to no avail as yet. Manal al-Sharif is a Saudi activist who openly defied the driving ban and posted a film on youtube where she’s seen to be driving. She got arrested for it and was held in custody for a few weeks. Official reports say that she has confessed and repents her deed. The latter is not very likely.

Manal is one of the organisers of a protest on June 17 (more here, one source of many). There will be no marches in the street: women will just do what they can and want to do, which is drive their cars.

Needless to say that a campaign has been raised to whip the woman who will drive and various sheikhs who made it their personal mission to make sure no Saudi woman will drive. But Manal and many others are not deterred.

The Huffpost compares her to Rosa Parks. I like that. I hope her actions will be as effective.

4 thoughts on “Defying the driving ban in Saudi Arabia

  1. Thanks for this important post. I certainly agree that Manal al-Sharif’s reported pledges/agreements/statements about no longer driving and dropping the campaign are coerced and without any alleged repent. For more, see the link below. Interested readers might also want to check out the comments numbered 9, 10, 29, 42, 43, 44 (perhaps especially #44), and 45 above the comment numbered 46 at this link:

    https://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2010/11/22/saudi-arabia-on-un-women-board/#comment-33444

  2. Saudi Arabia’s Women2Drive campaign is up against society

    Manal al-Sharif’s protest over women’s right to drive leaves her open to smears and mud slinging. The issue must be politicised

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jun/03/saudi-arabia-women2drive-women-driving


    Petition for Secretary Clinton to make a public statement supporting Saudi women’s right to drive

    http://www.change.org/petitions/secretary-clinton-publicly-support-saudi-womens-right-to-drive

  3. Defying the driving ban in Saudi Arabia, you can’t defy by 1 YouTube video. This does not justify the reason but if that was looked as example there are many drunken men driving taking innocent life is that justifiable?, should men not be banned from driving in that behavior? The Women in Saudi lived many years in silence for lot of reason not well educated to speak or have the knowledge to do so, all activates are limited by the government to control women and give them less freedom. A government has no onus over a women rights, it is not doing any favors as claimed best interest for all women’s. How would a government know what is a best for the women, only the Creator of the women will know this. The Old might gave equal rights to men and women in different ways; he has not said anything in his scriptures or the massagers he sent to control women.

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