I was reading CNN when a story about a woman who defied the Saudi Arabian ban on women driving caught my eye. I had just come back from taking my daughter shopping…without my husband and I drove myself. A simple act I do numerous times a day. But in some parts of the world, it is more complicated.
Manal al-Sharif is a divorced mother of a six-year-old boy and she is trying to find a way to explain to him why she was arrested and why she is no longer willing to let the men in her life dominate her. She describes how Backstreet Boys’ “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely” changed her life. It was the first music she had ever heard. She speaks about how she questioned her beliefs in the aftermath of 9-11. After her husband divorced her without her knowledge, she decided she was done deferring to the men in her life.
She was recently honored for “creative dissent” at the Oslo Freedom Forum and she had to give up her job as a computer scientist to speak at the conference.
It is a simple but powerful story of a woman who is questioning the limits imposed on her. The women in Saudi Arabia are planning on a Women2Drive campaign on June 17th when they will defy the ban on women drivers and take to the streets.