Saudi Women Take to Social Media for ‘Women2Drive’ Campaign

[ 0 ] June 17, 2011 |

Saudi women get behind the wheel and drive today as part of the Women2Drive campaign to protest religious beliefs that they should be banned from driving

Saudi women are utilizing Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media to rally support for their campaign urging the Saudi government to let them get behind the wheel and drive.

Although it’s not technically ‘s illegal for women to drive alone in Saudi Arabia, strict religious laws are often interpreted as bans against it. As part of the “Women2Drive” campaign demanding the right for women to drive and travel freely in Saudi Arabia, women will get in the driver’s seat Friday and take the streets.

“We have a saying … The rain starts with a single drop. This is a symbolic thing,” Manal al Sharif, a 32-year-old woman who was arrested in May for driving, told CNN.

“We support the Saudi women from different segments of Saudi society! They will drive cars starting from June 17! We believe Saudi women are able to lead themselves and her vehicle. Supporting us King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz!” says the Women2Drive Facebook page. Other Facebook pages in support of the cause, such as Honk for Saudi Women, have also sprouted up. Women all over the world, including Paris, are publicly voicing support for Saudi female drivers.

Saudi women rights activists wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, asking the U.S. to publicly support their effort. Clinton has said that the Saudi president is working to “expand opportunity for women” and has “established a powerful dialogue that seeks to promote the principles of moderation, tolerance, and mutual respect—core values that we all share.”

The Guardian newspaper’s Web site has live updates on what’s going on in the streets of Saudi Arabia today during the protest. Women and their husbands are also Tweeting their updates.

The Women2Drive Twitter feed is full of people voicing support for Saudi women. Here’s some of what they’re saying:

“My wife, Maha, and I have just come from a 45-minute drive, she was the driver through Riyadh streets.”

“We’ve revolted against dictatorships and oppression. Today we revolt against chauvinistic societies. Respect to #saudiwomen #women2drive.

“In solidarity with #saudiwomen. Best of luck!”

“Today, women in Saudi will challenge the driving ban, risking arrest, loss of jobs & children. This Suffragette-level bravery.”

What can you do to help? Honk to show your support of Saudi women today!

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