Woman Fighting Saudi Arabia's Ban on Female Drivers Killed in Car Accident

Illustration for article titled Woman Fighting Saudi Arabia's Ban on Female Drivers Killed in Car Accident

This weekend, two people were in a car accident. One was hurt, one was killed. If this had happened in the US, it would be tragic, but it likely wouldn't be news. This incident, however, happened in Saudi Arabia, and the two involved were women.


Saudi Arabia's still the only country in the world that bars women from driving. If a Saudi woman wants to venture out on the road, she either needs to hire a male driver or convince a male relative to serve as her chauffeur. Some women use cabs when they need to leave the house, but cabs aren't plentiful and some refuse to drive unchapheroned women. Walking from place to place isn't always and option, and even then, they may be asked to cover their eyes if a member of the all-volunteer Committee for the Protection of Virtue and Prevention of Vice deems them "too alluring." Fed up, many women do what two ill-fated women did this weekend and take to the remote desert regions of the country.

They're not the first or the most famous to defy the driving ban; back in the spring a 32-year-old computer security consultant named Manal al-Sherif was arrested and detained for 10 days after she posted a video of herself driving and explaining why she thought Saudi women should be allowed to drive on YouTube. Other women have gotten behind the wheel as well, citing the fact that there's no law against Saudi women driving, but issuing driver's licenses to women is forbidden, and thus if a Saudi woman holds an international driver's license, she should be allowed to drive. No dice, says the government. Several women have been arrested and lashed as punishment, including Shayma Jastaniah, who was given 10 lashes for being caught driving in Jeddah.

The Saudi government recently gave women the right to vote, and now they want to drive? That's just greedy, ladies. You get one basic right per year.

Saudi female driver who defied ban dies in car accident [Telegraph]



What is the theory behind this law? I'm serious. What is the reasoning that is given (which, I know could be different than the actual reasoning behind it, but I'd be curious either way.)