To continue our celebration of Women’s History Month let’s give a huge shout out to all the women of Saudi Arabia who, come this June, have the right to decide for themselves whether or not they want to drive a car.
This is a great step forward, along with all the other recently gained rights for the women of Saudi Arabia, but also for the country as a whole. Recognizing the role women can play to help improve their economy and country is important. I give kudos to both their King and Crown Prince. Whether or not they did it for their economy or for some other motive, it’s a great step for the women.
But, let’s not forget the women who played a part in standing up for their rights. Check out their story “How Saudi Women Fought for the Right to Drive“:
- November 1990 – Madeha Al-Ajroush was one of 47 female protestors who piled into cars and drove around to make their statement. Many of them lost their jobs and were told to keep a low profile. Their names were released to the public hurting them for nearly two decades.
- May 2011 – Following another protest, Manal Al-Shariff dared to drive and was arrested in the middle of the night and spent nine days in jail.
- 2013 – Dozens of women defied the law and drove again in a nationwide campaign using social media to boost awareness. Sahar Nasief was pulled over by seven police cars. She was released from jail, but only when her male guardian came to pick her up and signed papers taking complete responsibility for her because she is “helpless”. She also had to sign a paper stating that she would never drive again.
- November 2014 – Mayssa Al-Amoudi drove across the border to meet another activist. Both were arrested and spent 73 days in jail and were banned from travel for 9 months.
Well, their day has come! In June these ladies will have the freedom to drive. They still have more freedoms to fight for and gain. But they have come along way from having their first school for girls in 1955 to being able to vote and to be elected in 2015 to having the first female head of the Saudi Stock Exchange in 2017. They have had many amazing accomplishments in between as well. Much like that of the American woman. America is proud of our equal rights and the influence we have had promoting equality around the world over the last 100 years. See the article “Taking Steps Toward Equal Pay & Gender Equality“.
Hopefully one day soon the Saudi Arabian women will obtain their full citizenship and do away with the male guardianship rule.
Until then, congratulations on your newfound freedom and happy driving ladies!