Yes, you read that correctly. Apparently last month a woman by the name of Manal Al-Sharif was arrested and jailed in Saudi Arabia for driving her own car. The computer technician and mother along with a number of others, reached out via the Internet to gain support for an initiative that would encourage Saudi women to start driving their own cars on June 17th. Change.org is one of the many social action platforms involved in this new viral campaign.
As a woman living in the USA I cannot imagine not being allowed to drive a motor vehicle, but it didn’t surprise me to learn that it isn’t socially acceptable in other countries like Saudi Arabia. Just because it is culturally acceptable in one place doesn’t mean it is that way everywhere. I am so far removed from this that it amazes me that tomorrow women may actually get hurt because they will sit behind the wheel of an automobile and drive. It’s hard to wrap my head around that...
According to Manal women are encouraged to use drivers or have to rely on male relatives to get around. It is especially difficult for the poor women who cannot afford to pay a driver to bring her and her children where they need to go throughout the day. Many women pay their drivers up to 1/2 or more of their salary. Manal also points out that a woman can have a PhD but she is not allowed to drive herself to work and if her child gets sick or husband needs immediate medical attention women are still not allowed to drive.
Manal Al-Sharif isn’t the first woman to challenge this ban and if enough take advantage of her call for Women 2 Drive, she will not be the only one taking a stand. On Twitter you can follow the campaign as it unfolds by following the hashtag #women2drive.
What would you do if you were told you cannot drive?
LOLLL I would love for someone to drive me around all day in MY Benz, like I am a celebrity (a small celeb of some sort) ... that'd look so cool as I stepped out in from of Wal-Mart to go grocery shopping or in front of the hospital just to go for a yearly check-up. Problem is.... I am NOT about to pay anybody a dime of my hard earned money to drive me around when my body parts work just fine. Now if someone wants to volunteer and do that for FREE ... well we might have a deal. Just let it be known... you're going to have to bring a lawn chair & a fan, (when I'm out of the car, so are you) because using my gas to drive around (have you noticed the prices!!?!) and using my air conditioning system while I am not in the car is a waste... and ridiculous... (among other things).
Women aren't allowed to drive cars in Saudi Arabia? Good to see change.org involved.