Saudi Arabian women are demanding the right to drive. The current ban, though not in fact actually legal, prevents women from driving on the basis of “societal consensus” and follows strict religious code. Saudi-Arabia has been known for its issues regarding women’s rights over the years as several cases involving rape and victim-blaming have been disclosed to the global media. Several demonstrations have been staged before to show opposition to this edict. In May 2011 a prominent women’s rights advocate and activist was arrested for driving. The new protest, which involves urging women within the kingdom to get behind the wheel, is set to take place October 26th 2013.
Saudi Arabia is not exactly well known for their equal treatment of women. Just this week there was also a case of a rape victim being given 200 lashings, originally 90 for the crime of being raped, and the additional amount because her lawyer had the audacity to ask for an appeal and question the council. Saudi Arabia is a heavily religious country, with most of its laws following the strict rule of Islamic law. They are known for their severe guardian-ship laws, which limit what a woman can do on her own without the explicit approval of a male guardian. These laws are an effort to stifle the mobility of the female citizens and to make them dependent on males for their survival. The justice set forth for violation of these laws can vary from incarceration to public lashings. The best method to control an individual is through deprivation of means, lacking the ability to drive or to even ride a bike is a severe form of control. Minimizing women’s transportation options is a show of dominance and subjugation and should be considered deplorable. The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights clearly lists the ability to freely move about the world and travel as an inherent human right, one that women in Saudi-Arabia are lacking. Progress is happening, though, slowly. Women are being told that in 2015 they will have the right to vote, and have been appointed to positions of authority now. However, the average woman in Saudi Arabia is still dependent on others, men, to complete tasks that she is perfectly capable of achieving on her own.