Today, women in Saudi Arabia are driving their cars in protest of a religious ruling that bans female drivers from being behind the wheel. The campaign, “Women2Drive,” gained attention when Manal al-Sherif—a key figure of the campaign—was arrested upon uploading a YouTube video of herself driving around Khobar, Mashable reports. Al-Sherif was released from prison on the condition that she would no longer drive or take part in the Women2Drive initiative. Though she can no longer participate, many other women in Saudi Arabia are taking on the campaign by committing the same act of peaceful disobedience as Al-Sherif.
Areej Khan, a 24-year-old Saudi woman, also started an online campaign, “We the Women,” in an effort to overturn the religious ban, the New York Times reports. By providing speech bubbles with the campaign’s logo, Khan hopes to give voice to other women and men who wish to eliminate the ban against female drivers.
Follow the “Women2Drive” campaign on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, where users are encouraged to defend women’s driving rights via the “Honk for Saudi Women” channel. On other popular social media sites, comments of support and videos of female drivers have been popping up, giving voice and backing to the campaign.
One female blogger, Maryam Namazie, is taking a stand for the Women2Drive campaign by cycling, instead of driving. “Cycling – by the way – is just as ruinous a feat for women as driving so it should be just as fun,” she writes. “I do hope you will come out with me on 17 June to defend women’s rights to drive and cycle and challenge these reactionaries of our times.”
We have covered the role of women in transportation previously on TheCityFix, like explaining policies that create safe and secure commuting spaces for women, or discussing the presence of female bikers as an indicator of street safety in Latin America.
You can find more of our articles on women’s role in transportation here.