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We The Women: The Campaign to Drive in Saudi Arabia

We The Women: The Campaign to Drive in Saudi Arabia

We the Women is a campaign for women’s right to drive in Saudi Arabia. The brainchild of 24 year old Areej (who wishes to withhold her last name), the campaign features an online forum to discuss and debate the issue. Areej was inspired to start the campaign and write her thesis on it after seeing how her retired father spent so much time chauffering the women in her family. “I always felt guilty for few months that he used to drive me around. Driving four girls in one house is hard task. We had drivers quitting after becoming fed up by the amount of places we needed driving to.”

The site includes stickers with speech bubbles available to download, and users are encouraged to write their thoughts on the issue and display them. The campaign’s Facebook page has already garnered over 1,100 fans who actively debate the issue.

As expected, opinions on the site vary. Posted stickers bear messages such as “It is my natural right to move freely and flexibly in my environment,” “Driving shouldn’t even be an issue,” and even “I don’t like the backseat!” In turn, one user argues on the online forum:
“I dont want to generalise, but ALOT [sic] of the younger male population harass the women even when they are being CHAFFEURED [sic]…Now imagine the situation if women DID drive… ??? How much would criminal cases go up exactly?…Women driving in Saudi Arabia is definite NO. We arent ready for it, and the younger generation definately is not ready. And thats more than 50% of the population. Maybe in the next 10-15 years, when more than 50% of the population is much more mature and wise.”

Check out the campaign’s page and add your thoughts to the discussion!

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12 comments

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11:53AM PDT on Oct 26, 2013

remember, these women have been mutilated and abused through level III FGM. it is amazing that they can stand let alone fight for their rights

8:41AM PDT on May 13, 2012

Let the women drive ! sigh !

8:16AM PDT on Jun 21, 2010

In the time of mohammed (SAW), women rode their horses and camels. In other Islamic countries, women didn’t have to compromise their modest dress code to drive. And they drive as well as men, if not better and safer .now did the prophet of allah prohibit this ? NO !!
aisha (peace be opon her) who is also called om al mo'mineen lead an army of men !
the problem in Saudia Arabia is that everyone is brainwashed !!
this is the truth and the probalem with our society is that they dont want to face the truth !!

another problem is many people fear that especially the young, will harass or chase female drivers. This is blaming the victim. If men are the guilty party, then let’s ban them.

Some suspect that if we allow women driving, it will make it much easier for dating. They say it is bad as it is. Girls pretending to be out for school and social events go for dates! Give them cars and see what happens!
I say if they decide to date they will find a way. If you don’t trust your kids, boys or girls, don’t give them cars. But if you brought them up well, trust them. Besides, why do we assume girls would be less observant and conservative than boys? If both are as much suspect, then nobody should be allowed to drive. What difference does it make who sits on the driving seat?

may god guide you all to the stright path !!
and may women in my country have their rights !!

peace

8:27AM PDT on Apr 20, 2010

This is a really interesting article. I do agree there needs to be some delicacy in the situation, but considering Saudi Arabia is part of the UN and equality is a UN policy, their lawmakers need to make a better attempt to actually meet the UN standards.

9:28PM PDT on Sep 11, 2009

Since women are regarded as people with poor judgement by the Saudi government; they're not allowed to testify in court, work, travel, study, get hospitalized without their male guardian's permission, it's unlikely the Saudi government will allow women to operate vehicles. Driving prohibition is the tip of a monster iceberg and the root of the problem needs to be dealt with before any progress will be made.

Saudi has signed an agreement during the Human Rights Council in Geneva in 2008 to abolish laws that conflict with the UN's regulation and outline of gender equality, personal choice and ending male guardianship. Although in theory the Saudi government has claimed that they've no longer made it a requirement for women to seek a male guardian's permission, the reality is, they're still always required to by officials and demands made by various ministries within Saudi.

The "rulers" have as much control of their country as Queen Elizabeth does of Britain, it's all a big facade. The people who run the country are barbaric religious police, extremists, sadist judges and officials. To name a few judicial punishments that are common place in Saudi; public floggings, public decapitations by a sword, juvenile executions (meaning they kill children), hand amputations and ... (saved the best for last)... eye-gougings. I was going to include a picture to illustrate but I thought I'd spare you guys the nightmares.


9:26PM PDT on Sep 11, 2009

What needs to happen is a boycott, like what helped abolish apartheid in South Africa. The reform can only really be influenced by other countries, people living in Saudi are powerless and are putting themselves at great risk by speaking out against the establishment.

A boycott of sport events, products, absolutely everything Saudi or any event that includes Saudi representation should be boycotted. When there's financial reason for a reform, believe me, it'll happen overnight.

Good work Areej!! Best of luck in everything.

3:50PM PDT on May 21, 2009

I find one of the remarks noted in the story very telling. That because men don't seem to be able to control their behavior, women should be restricted because of that fact.

I've heard that excuse used to try and keep Naval women off aircraft carriers and submarines - the male sailors/pilots will harass them, there will be sexual activity and the women will end up pregnant (it's usually the WOMEN who are the targets in pregnancy issues, rarely the men who fully cooperated in getting them in that condition), the wives of male soldiers won't like their husbands being in such close contact with females for extended periods, etc.

Of course Saudi women should fight for the right to drive. And for many, many other rights that are being denied them.

4:40AM PDT on May 18, 2009

Saudi men prefer to have their women chauffered by totally strange men, ie.foreign drivers??? Is that so they can easily fabricate stories about the women's infidelity in order to get rid of them and marry new ones???

8:05PM PDT on May 11, 2009

I share your sentiment, Amalthea. I support womens equal rights, and find it difficult not being able to make immediate changes for women in other countries. If there were some way to affect the disperate womens situation around the world, I would focus my attentions there, along with all of my friends, to make a greater change for them & their society.

9:13AM PDT on May 11, 2009

I used to teach ESL to Somali women - they were the most brilliant, hard-working and warmly appreciative students a teacher could hope for and I miss the work so much ['thank' cutbacks for that]. When my most dedicated student began learning to drive she stated unequivocably to me that she wouldn't have been allowed to drive back home in Somalia - and her eyes shone with pride and joy that she could do so here. Her reaching out to me with this happiness and my being able to reach back and cheer her on with happiness and solidarity for her as a woman - these moments are are moment the heart can understand. "It doesn't take a brain surgeon" - WOMAN NEED VASTLY MORE RIGHTS AND MORE RESPECT AND CARE ALL OVER THE WORLD, PERIOD. IT SHOULDN'T HAVE TO BE A BLEEPING BATTLE - BUT IT BLEEPING WELL IS.

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