The first time I heard women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia I thought it was a joke, and that was many years! It’s 2012 now and Saudi Arabia still remains the only country where it is illegal for women to drive. Over the past few years people all over the world have been lending their voices in support of Saudi Arabian women who are fighting to have this ban and many others on women removed.
Last week, in celebration of the International Women’s Day , Amnesty International issued a statement to call for more support from people all over the world.
Below is an excerpt;
Drivers of Change in Saudia Arabia
Due to Saudi Arabia’s male-controlled “guardianship” system, women are discriminated against and denied control over their own lives on a wide range of social, personal, and economic issues.
Perhaps one of the most unusual, yet pervasive, restrictions is a de facto ban on Saudi Arabian women driving in the country, even when they hold valid international driver’s licenses and freely drive elsewhere in the world.
Last year, women activists re-launched the campaign to protest against the ban called “Women2Drive”, which used social media to urge women with international driver’s licenses to take to the roads from 17 June 2011 onwards.
Scores of women participated in the action, with many arrested and forced to sign pledges never to drive again. At least one woman was tried and sentenced to 10 lashes for defying the ban.
Although Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah announced women would have the right to vote in municipal elections in 2015, the divisive driving ban has yet to be overturned.
Amnesty International sees the ban as symbolic of the many areas of life where women in the kingdom continue to have their human rights heavily restricted.
The organization is calling on people around the world to share images and messages of solidarity with Saudi Arabian women activists, supporting them in their “drive to freedom”.
photocredit – Ryan McVay/gettyimages