Dubai: Women in Saudi Arabia are reportedly resorting to different ways to persuade authorities from lifting a driving ban imposed on them since 1957.
According to media, the campaign to lift the ban on Saudi women drivers may have been given an extra push by the arrest of AP Loujain Al Hathloul, who drove her car from the UAE to the Saudi Arabian border in early December to protest the ban on women drivers and released a video of it. Hathloul faced six days of detention for defying the ban. The news of her arrest was covered by media across the globe.
As Hathloul was kept waiting in her car an entire night after Saudi border authorities decided on the next course of action after confiscating her passport, she live-tweeted the incident on the social media site Twitter protesting the ban. The first incident of Saudi women protesting against the ban on female drivers was reported in 1990, when 47 of them hit the road in their cars in Riyadh.
The women were later arrested and many of them lost their jobs following the stunt. Thereafter, the campaign to lift the ban gathered momentum two decades later when women activists attempted to petition King Abdullah after he assumed his role as the monarch of Saudi Arabia in 2005.
The movement is again gathering pace as more women activists are taking upon themselves to persuade the authorities to quash the ban. In 2007, Wajeha Al Huwaider, an activist and a writer along with her friend Fawzia Al Uyyouni collected 1,100 signatures and handed them to the King. However, the process has been slow as the authorities – the Ministry of Interior and the Saudi police – are still unyielding, stating women driving on roads was unacceptable and against regulations, the report added.