Once again, brave Saudi women prove that there’s no stopping them until they take their long lost rights. With the saying “Rights are not given, they are taken” in mind, Saudi women observed how females across cultures and around the world have struggled through history to reach the place they are now and that encouraged them to never lose hope and to keep trying. Emboldened with the support of the Saudi King Abdulla Bin Abdulaziz who’ s reign witnessed more empowerment of Saudi women than ever, those phenomenal females are made to feel that it is in their hands to change their society’s perception of the role of a woman and take back what was once theirs; independence. The long awaited and fought for rights to vote and enter the parliament have been won earlier in 2011 when king Abdullah dictated that Saudi women be given full rights not only to vote but also to run as candidates themselves in municipality elections and to participate politically as members in the Saudi parliament. That royal decree came in time to awaken the fading hope in Saudi women and give them a push forward to resume activating their rights. Among the remaining rights that females in the Kingdom aspire to attain is the right to sit behind the steering wheel and drive their own cars. In that struggle, a group of Saudi females attempted to drive their cars in 1990 and they were arrested, imprisoned, fired from their jobs and their passports confiscated, all despite that there is no traffic law the restricts women from driving. However, as prominent persistent females went out to drive again within the 2011 campaign, they were faced with a more lenient reaction by traffic police who only had them sign a pledge to never drive again. Later that same year, members of CPVPV arrested a few individual female drivers and had them sign the same kind of pledge. From that date, several female driving attempts were reported where the traffic police only stopped them for license checks and let them go on their way. Looking at both the government and society’s reaction following women’s attempts to drive as part of driving campaigns or even individually, it is clear that the cause came a long way ever since 1990. After all, the king did say that it’s a choice of the society. Additionally, as mentioned above, there is no law banning female driving. Even more, an increasing number of Sharia sheikhs are coming out to say that there is nothing in the Islamic Sharia that prohibits women from driving after the late Sheikh Ibn Baz had issued a fatwa against it. Only this week, the Head of The Committee of the Promotion Virtue and the Prevention of Vice was reported through an official local newspaper to have said that CPVPV members were given instruction not to chase after any care driven by a female and that it is not part of their role. And It is only reasonable to believe that he wouldn’t have come out with such an announcement had he not been instructed to do so by higher authorities. From what it looks like, I would say that our beloved king is smoothing the path for us; his daughters and supporting our attempts to make the Saudi society accept our independence.
With all the mentioned circumstances, this year’s Saudi women driving campaign, planned to take place on the 26th of October, is surrounded with more optimism than that of last year and the years before. Hats off to those independent Saudi women, your persistence is paying off. And as a wise man once said “Ambition is the path to success, persistence is the vehicle you arrive in”. SO get into your cars, drive and make sure you arrive! Change is on the way.