Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive cars, but that certainly hasn’t stopped one Saudi woman from driving and even posting an online video documenting it.
The video, posted in Arabic to the internet on October 7, was translated into English by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
“I'm driving my car on a street near my home, and I see people looking at me without any disapproval. It is as if we [women] have been driving for a long time,” the woman says in the clip.
“This is not the first time that I am driving, and I will continue to do so,” she stresses. “Usually I drive when I have things to do, such as taking my daughter to school, which is in the neighborhood I live in. I have often driven to my daughter's school to take her home, and although there are many people there, nobody has reprimanded me for driving.”
The woman notes that she is “better protected when driving, and I prefer it to walking. When I walk, I face harassment, such as people honking their horns at me, but when I drive, there is no trouble at all.”
“We [women] are waiting to be allowed to drive, and Allah willing, we will not have to wait for long,” she concludes.
The video was posted to the internet as part of a long-standing campaign aimed at getting the Saudi Arabian driving ban lifted and which has urged women to defy the ban.
Many women have driven since the campaign was launched in 2011 and many have been arrested and forced to sign a pledge that they will never drive again.
The campaign, which spread through Facebook and Twitter, was the largest mass action since November 1990, when 47 Saudi women were arrested and punished after demonstrating in cars.
No law specifically forbids women in Saudi Arabia from driving, but the interior minister formally banned women from doing so after that protest.
Last year, a Saudi women’s rights activist filed a lawsuit against the country’s interior ministry over the ban.