Women Drivers Day
The women drivers day protest in Saudi Arabia originated from a number of campaigns and protest movements that fight for women’s rights, and it called to women to get behind a steering wheel despite this being prohibited in Saudi Arabia. The driving ban is not a written law, but is based on a fatwa (a religious ruling), which can be pronounced in Islamic countries as a solution of religious problems. A special role in the campaign is played by the Association for the Protection and Defense of Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia, an NGO founded by Majeha al-Huwaider and Fawzia al-Uyyouni, which developed out of a September 2007 petition against the ban on female drivers in Saudi Arabia.
Since 1990, there have been several protests against the ban. In November 1990, in the first public action, 47 women in 15 cars drove through Riyadh and were arrested. In 2008, on March 8, International Women’s Day, Al-Uyyouni filmed herself driving on a public road, and achieved international attention with this video, which was uploaded to YouTube. In 2011 social media networks, such as Teach me how to drive so I can protect myself and Women2Drive (2013: 17,000 members) were founded, which demand the right to drive for women, and appeal to women to defy the ban and drive. The campaign and protests are to continue until the ban on women driving has officially been lifted.