Saudi Women Defy Ban
June 18, 2011 by staff
Saudi Women Defy Ban, A Saudi woman defiantly drove through their nation’s capital Friday, while others brazenly sailed up police patrols in the first incursions of a campaign that aims to spark a rebellion against the rules of the road just for men in the conduct ultraconservative Saudi Arabia.
Base was a bit of challenge to the Saudi monarchy, backed by the West as it tries to ride the wave of change in the Arab world, and a lesson in how surveys are taking root in different ways. In this case, the driver’s seat became a powerful platform for women’s rights in a country where wives and daughters have almost no political voice.
“We have seen that change is possible,” said Maha al-Qahtani, a computer specialist at the Saudi Ministry of Education. She said she led for 45 minutes around Riyadh with her husband in the passenger seat. “It’s about Saudi women saying, ‘this is our time to make a change.” ”
About 40 women participated in Friday’s show of defiance. No arrests and violence were reported immediately, but al-Qahtani was later fined for driving without a license.
However, the show could bring difficult decisions for the Saudi regime, which has so far escaped major disturbances. The officials may order an offensive against women, or give way to the demands and the risk of angering the clergy and other conservative groups. It could also encourage a wider range of reform on women in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is the only country that bans women from driving. That forces families to hire live in drivers, and those who cannot afford the 300 and 400 per month and one must rely on male relatives to drive women to work, school, shopping or the doctor.
A similar effort by dozens of women two decades ago to challenge the ban failed.
The official start of last season following the detention of 10 days Manal al-Sharif, 32, after she posted video of it driving. She was released after reportedly signing a commitment not to drive or public speaking. His case, however, provoked an outcry from international rights groups.
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