On 26th October, women of Saudi Arabia drove on the streets to defy the driving ban. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that prohibits women from driving. The punishment is 10 lashes.
There is no written ban on women driving. However, women must obtain a locally issued license to drive. These licenses are not issued to women. Therefore, this effectively prevents women from driving
More than 16,000 signatures were obtained on the campaign website to change the law. Later in the day, the website was hacked.
The women to drive movement is a campaign started by Saudi Arabian women who are trying to enforce the right to drive motor vehicles on public roads in Saudi Arabia.
The protest began in 1990, when women in Riyadh drove their cars in protest. They were imprisoned for a day, their passports were confiscated and some of them lost their jobs.
In 2007, Wajeha al-Huwaider and Fawzia Al-Uyyouni of the Association for the Protection and Defense of Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia appealed to King Abdullah with a petition of 1,100 signatures. On International Women’s Day, al-Huwaider filmed herself driving and posted the video online. The following week she was arrested after she posted a video of Manal al-Sharif driving.
Several other protests have taken place in Saudi Arabia since then. The movement has garnered support from the international community as well.
Video that went viral
Saudi Arabia based comedian Hisham Fageeh posted a video that went viral over the internet to bring more attention towards the plight of women. The video got over 450,000 views on YouTube. The song titled No Woman, No Drive is his rendition of Bob Marley’s No Woman, No Cry.