Trouble Thinking

May 27, 2011

Saudi Woman Campaigns for Right To Drive

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , — Durandal @ 10:07 am

This is a pretty interesting thing. Manal al Sharif, a Saudi Arabian woman,  is arranging a “mass drive” on the 17th of June and encouraging other women to learn how to drive as part of a protest movement she’s helped popularize that is looking to make it socially acceptable for women to drive in Saudi Arabi. Apparently, it’s not actually illegal to drive if you’re a woman in Saudi Arabia, it’s just that you’ll get arrested if you drive and you’re also a woman As the video below from Al Jazeera English explains, there’s nothing actually codified in the law of the land that says a female driver is committing a crime, it’s just that there’s a religious proscription against it and a general cultural agreement that they shouldn’t. Plus, separate religious police will arrest you I suppose. It seems like a terrifying system.

Women are also disallowed from public transit as they can’t come into close contact with men, which public transit requires. Manal al Sharif’s point is that due to the fact that women are so restricted in their movements, they and the people they take care of are inherently less safe. What if you husband gets a heart attack and you can’t take him to the hospital? What if your family needs food and you can’t afford a driver and have no nearby male relative?

Unfortunately it appears the KSAWomen2Drive channel isn’t on YouTube anymore, and I can’t find their Facebook page.

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