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Ruled by Sharia laws, Saudi women have to face most severe reins, such as the dress code, sex segregation, male guardianship, not being able to vote and be elected to high political positions, and many others. Being “the lowest ranking country in Freedom House’s assessment of women’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa”, Saudi Arabia kingdom’s enforcement cause the country to be the only one in the world that doesn’t allow women to drive.
To stand for Saudi women’s one of the most basic rights, one brave Saudi women-rights activist, Manal al-Sharif posted to YouTube, a video of herself driving, and drove both her country’s and world’s attention. While Saudi authorities arrested her, she got the world’s admiration, and gave to the Women2Drive Campaign a voice.
The protest against the ban on women driving actually first emerged in 1990 in Saudi Arabia, and concluded with the punishment of several women. This last incident of Manal-al Sharif, raised the voice of Saudi women once again.
“Manal al-Sharif, a 32-year-old computer security consultant, was arrested on 22 May, the day after she was stopped by police while driving in al-Khobar city in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province”, reported Amnesty International. Al-Sharif was released this week from Dammam prison, but as a condition of that she had to sign a pledge, which indicates that she will not take part in Women2Drive campaign. She also presented her apologies to the king, and declared that she appreciates her release.
Nonetheless Manal al-Sharif initiated the campaign, and Women2Drive did not lose its effect. Many Saudi women are uploading their videos filmed by their husbands, fathers, relatives and the campaign is growing from Facebook and Twitter .
Supporting the campaign, Freedom House , in its press release demands from Saudi Arabia, to fulfill their promises that has been given since 2008, regarding the lifting of the driving ban of women, and also to allow the campaign to take place in a peaceful environment.
The campaign encourages Saudi women with international driver licences, to drive on Saudi Arabia streets on 17th of June, and demands support from all around the world. It is about time for women to raise their voices against severe Saudi authority.