Saudi women fight for right to drive

Women in Saudi Arabia challenge ban on driving

Women in Saudi Arabia are challenging one of the kingdom’s most internationally controversial laws by forming a committee to fight for the right to drive cars.

As things stand, all women are banned from driving. But the committee of Demanders of Women’s Right to Drive Cars is planning to challenge this by petitioning the king.

‘We would like to remind officials that this is, as many have said, a social and not religious or political issue,’ Fowziyyah al-Oyouni, a founding member of the committee, told The Guardian. ‘Since it’s a social issue, we have the right to lobby for it.’

The committee is likely to have their work cut out over the issue, which arouses intense reactions among strictly religious men who argue that allowing women to drive would begin a general collapse of morality.

If women no longer had to rely on male relatives to take them from place to place, they would be able to leave the house without always seeking their husband’s permission, they argue.

Women drivers would also come into contact with petrol pump attendants – a no-no in a society which enforces an almost total segregation of the sexes.

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