Are You Supporting Saudi Women This Friday?

This Friday, June 17, women in Saudi Arabia will risk arrest by doing something many of us do every day: driving a car.

The Ms. editors encourage you to sign this letter to key Saudi and U.S. decision makers, sponsored by the Feminist Majority Foundation, to help Saudi women win the right to go wherever they choose, on their own.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a long history of female oppression. Saudi women cannot vote. They cannot leave the country without the approval of a male guardian. Less than 15 percent of the kingdom’s workforce is female. In the neighboring United Arab Emirates, by comparison, women make up more than half of the labor force.

And Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive.

When IT security consultant Manal al-Sharif posted a YouTube video of herself behind the wheel last month, her punishment came swiftly. She was arrested and held for five days. Her detention was later extended by another four days for “further investigation”–even though her 5-year-old child was in the hospital. Police also had all the evidence they could have wanted: Not only did the video show al-Sharif driving, it showed her explaining why she was breaking the driving ban.

The Women2Drive movement is organizing the June 17 act of civil disobedience. Stay up to date by following Women2Drive on Facebook and Twitter.

In addition to sending the letter, you can have a friend take a video of yourself behind the wheel and honk to show your support for Saudi women! Send your video to honkforsaudiwomen@gmail.com. The videos are posted to their YouTube channel.

Please join us in showing that the whole world will be watching when Saudi women exercise their right to drive.

In the upcoming issue of Ms., we will be reporting on the outcome of the protests and other activism by Saudi women in the face of gender oppression, including their fight for the right to vote. Subscribe now to get the Summer issue delivered before it hits newsstands.

Comments

  1. http://www.change.org/petitions/oprah-please-make

    We’re also asking that Oprah honk to Support Saudi Women drivers taking the wheel this FRIDAY.

  2. Tara Holman says:

    We support you!

  3. Haifaa M. says:

    FINALLY, MS!!!! You did not want to touch the Afghani women during the Tilban era. I am glad you got your prorities straighted out. Saudi women sufferage is on despite your hisotrical lack of support.

  4. Marjorie says:

    Men and Women in Saudi Arabia, we would like you to know that millions (men and women) around the world sympathize with the idea that all women in Saudi Arabia that want to drive will be respected and allowed to .This will benefit them, your children and you. By supporting them you are not just showing fairness but also will be letting the rest of the world that you really care and respect their needs . This June 17, my husband, two sons and myself and millions more will be paying close attention to this issue praying for the well being of everyone, specially of the women and children of Saudi Arabia.

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