Saudi women demand the driver’s seat

AFP/Getty Images Saudi women are putting the pedal to the metal this month in efforts to gain the right to drive cars. The newly formed League of Demanders of Women’s Right to Drive Cars in Saudi Arabia is putting together a petition demanding that women be allowed to drive automobiles in the Kingdom. The petition will be ...

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599352_070917_saudi_05.jpg

AFP/Getty Images

Saudi women are putting the pedal to the metal this month in efforts to gain the right to drive cars. The newly formed League of Demanders of Women's Right to Drive Cars in Saudi Arabia is putting together a petition demanding that women be allowed to drive automobiles in the Kingdom. The petition will be delivered to King Abdullah on Sept. 23, Saudi Arabia's national day.

Saudi Arabia is the only country that prohibits women from getting behind the wheel. In recent years, reformist efforts have aimed to remove obstacles to women working, but as one Saudi political analyst notes, these efforts won't amount to much if women can't drive.

AFP/Getty Images

Saudi women are putting the pedal to the metal this month in efforts to gain the right to drive cars. The newly formed League of Demanders of Women’s Right to Drive Cars in Saudi Arabia is putting together a petition demanding that women be allowed to drive automobiles in the Kingdom. The petition will be delivered to King Abdullah on Sept. 23, Saudi Arabia’s national day.

Saudi Arabia is the only country that prohibits women from getting behind the wheel. In recent years, reformist efforts have aimed to remove obstacles to women working, but as one Saudi political analyst notes, these efforts won’t amount to much if women can’t drive.

The text of the petition, along with instructions on how to sign it, originally appeared on the Arabic-language Web site Aafaq. It says, “The [right to free movement] … was enjoyed by our mothers and grandmothers, in complete freedom, through the means of transportation available in their day.” It goes on to demand that the king return “that which has been stolen from women: the right to [free] movement through the use of cars, [which are] the means of transportation today.”

Sounds fair enough to me. But what’re the chances the king will agree?

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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