Veiled Saudi Women Launch A Freedom Campaign

by Phyllis Chesler

Brave Saudi women drove their cars in public in Riyadh, the capital city, to demand their right to drive. They were quickly detained, their passports were confiscated, and they were fired from their jobs. On the 19th anniversary of this event, Saudi women activists, led by prominent Saudi activist and journalist Wajeha al Huwaider, are launching the Black Ribbons Campaign. They want to move about in the world freely, without a male minder. Al Huwaider has called for the abolition of the mahram (“guardian”) law which requires women to obtain the approval of a male relative for nearly any move they make in their lives. She is also demanding that Saudi women be treated as a citizens, just like their male counterparts, and that they be allowed to travel, drive, gain custody of their children, work, study, etc., just like their male counterparts. The Saudi women will not “untie their ribbons until Saudi women enjoy their rights as adult citizens.”

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