June 18, 2012


Around this time last year, women in Saudi Arabia protested against the ban on women driving. In the past year, many women have lost jobs, friends, social standing and reputations along with being imprisoned and receiving death threats.

Najla Hariri, 45 decided in May 2011 to take to the roads herself rather than relying on male relatives to ferry her around. Manal al-Sharif, 33a divorced mother heard about Hariri via Facebook and decided to risk driving, even posting a video on YouTube. Both are founders of the movement ‘Women2Drive’.

Campaigners asked women to not only apply for their licence and to drive but asked men to support their female relatives and sit in the car as a passenger.

They have posted a letter to King Abdullah with 600 signatures asking for the ban to be lifted. They say: “Our initiative is not aimed at violating laws… but we hope that our country will be a supportive community for women, where men and women are treated equally.”

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