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Saudi Women: "I Will Drive Myself Starting June 17"

[Image from unknown archive.] [Image from unknown archive.]

[The following announcement was originally released in Arabic, and can be found here. Translation by Ziad Abu-Rish and Khuloud.]

Us women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are the ones who will lead this society towards change. While we failed to deliver through our voices, we will not fail to deliver through our actions. We have been silent and under the mercy of our guardian (muhram) or foreign driver for too long. Some of us barely make ends meet and cannot even afford cab fare. Some of us are the heads of households yet have no source of income except for a few hard-earned [Saudi] Riyals that are used to pay drivers. Then there are those of us who do not have a muhram to look after our affairs and are forced to ask strangers for help. We are even deprived of public transportation, our only salvation from being under the mercy of others. We are your daughters, wives, sisters, and mothers. We are half of society and give birth to [the other] half, yet we have been made invisible and our demands have been marginalized. We have been deliberately excluded from your plans! Therefore, the time has come to take the initiative. We will deliver a letter of complaint to our father the King of Humanity and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques calling on him to support the Women of June 17.

We have searched for laws that prohibit women in Saudi Arabia from exercising their right to drive their own vehicle but have not found anything that points to such [a prohibition] in Saudi traffic laws. Therefore, what we will do cannot be considered a violation of the law. We therefore have decided that beginning on Friday the 15th of Rajab, 1432, which corresponds to the 17th of June, 2011:

  • Every women in possession of an international driver's license or one from another country will begin driving her car herself whether to reach her place of work, drop her children off at school, or attend to her daily needs.
  • We will take photographs and videotapes of ourselves driving our cars and post them to our Facebook page in order to support our cause: I will drive starting June 17
  • We will adhere to the dress code (hijab) while driving.
  • We will obey the traffic laws and will not challenge the authorities if we are stopped for questioning.
  • If we are pulled over we will firmly demand to be informed of which laws have been violated. Until now there is not one traffic law that prohibits a woman from driving her own vehicle herself.
  • We do not have destructive goals and will not congregate or protest, nor will we raise slogans. We have no leaders or foreign conspirators. We are patriots and we love this country and will not accept that which encroaches on its security and safety. All that is involved [in this matter] is that we will begin to exercise our legitimate right.
  • We will not stop exercising this right until you find us a solution. We have spoken out on too many occasions and no one has listened to us. The time for solutions has come. We want women's driving schools. We want Saudi drivers’ licenses [for women] like all other countries in the world. We want to live a complete form of citizenship without the humiliation and degradation that we are [currently] subjected to everyday because of our dependence on a driver.
  • We will launch volunteer campaigns to offer free driving lessons for women beginning on the date that this announcement is issued and we wish for everyone to support us.

To review the traffic law in Saudi Arabia:

Section Four: Driving License, page 47
List 1-4 of Driving Violations: pages 117-121



 نحن النساء في المملكة العربية السعودية من سيقود هذا المجتمع نحو التغيير. وحين فشلنا في ايصال صوتنا، لن نفشل في ايصال أفعالنا. كفانا سكوتاً ومذلة لكل رجل من محرم أو أجنبي عنا. منا من لاتملك أجرة تاكسي وتعيش على الكفاف. ومنا من تعول أسرتها وليس لها عائل غير ريالات بسيطة دفعت فيها جهدها وعرقها لتكون لقمة سائغة للسائقين. ومنا من ليس لها من يقوم بأمرها فتلظت بنار السؤال لكل غريب. محرومين حتى من مواصلات عامة تكفينا شرهم. نحن بناتكم ونساؤكم وأخواتكم وأمهاتكم. نحن نصف المجتمع ونلد نصفه. لكن تم تغييبنا وتهميش مطالبنا. سقطنا من خططكم عمداً! لذلك حان وقت أخذ زمام المبادرة. وسنقوم برفع خطاب تظلم لوالدنا ملك الانسانية خادم الحرمين الشريفين لمسانده نساء ١٧ يونيو

تم البحث عن أي قانون يمنع المرأة في السعودية من ممارسة حقها في قيادة مركبتها بنفسها ولم نجد أي شيء يشير لذلك في نظام المرور السعودي*. لذلك لايعتبر ما سنفعله خرقاً للقانون. لذلك قررنا أنه وبدأً من الجمعه 15 رجب 1432 الموافق 17 يونيو 2011 التالي

 كل امرأه تملك رخصة قيادة دولية أو من دولة أخرى ستبدأ بقيادة سيارتها بنفسها لتقضية أي مشوار لها سواء للوصول لمكان عملها، ايصال أطفالها للمدرسة، أو قضاء حوائجها اليومية :سنوثق قيادتنا لسياراتنا بأنفسنا بالصوت والصورة ونشرها على صفحتنا بالفيسبوك لدعم قضيتنا

 سنلتزم بحشمتنا وحجابنا حين قيادة سياراتنا

 سنلتزم بقوانين المرور ولن نتحدى السلطات إذا تم ايقافنا للمساءلة

 إذا تم ايقافنا للمساءلة نتمسك بحق المطالبة أن نعرف أي القوانين تم خرقها. لحد الآن لايوجد اي قانون في نظام المرور يمنع المرأة من قيادة مركبتها بنفسها

 ليس لدينا أهداف تخريبية. ولن نتجمهر أو نتظاهر أو نرفع شعارات وليس لدينا قادة أو جهات أجنبيه نحن وطنيات ونحب هذا الوطن ولن نرض بما يمس أمنه أو سلامته. كل مافي الأمر أننا سنبدأ بممارسة حق مشروع

 لن نتوقف عن ممارسة هذا الحق حتى تجدوا لنا حلاً. تكلمنا كثيراً ولم يسمعنا أحد، جاء وقت الحلول. نريد مدارس نسائيه لتعليم القيادة. نريد رخص قيادة سعودية أسوة بكل دول العالم. نريد أن نعيش مواطنة كاملة بدون الذل والمهانة التي نتعرض لها كل يوم لأننا مربوطين برقبة سائق

 سنبدأ باقامة حملات تطوعية لتعليم النساء القيادة مجاناً بدأ من تاريخ نشر هذا الإعلان ونرجو مساندة الجميع


:لمراجعة نظام المرور في السعودية 

الباب الرابع: رخص القيادة صفحة 47

جداول المخالفات 1-4 صفحة 117 -121

24 comments for "Saudi Women: "I Will Drive Myself Starting June 17""


You go girls!!! Become independent, liberate youselves!! Life is too short!! I support your Cause. Best wishes, Peace to all.

Sylvia Andromeda wrote on May 12, 2011 at 07:05 PM

Finally! Mabrouk. The whole world can see now that arabic women are not abulic or even anxious. They were forced into the helpless role of the society which is men-dominated. Now it's time to show how strong we really are. I wish the saudi women the only best. I pray for them and for the government to finally meet their demands of being independent and honorable women.

Mona wrote on May 13, 2011 at 04:39 AM

As a driver, a motorcyclist and a woman I wish you all the absolute best with this step forward. Sincerest best wishes.


Claire wrote on May 14, 2011 at 11:54 AM

As a proffessional driver myself, I often find myself in the position of the only female with a busload of men. It kinda makes me laugh sometimes at the role reversal. This is a huge step forward and I wish you all the very best.

Paula wrote on May 14, 2011 at 06:51 PM

I support an initiative to help Saudi women improve our situations but I think the real problem is not a driving license, it's the men we agree to marry. A driving license just gives men more excuse to neglect us because we can now do all the shopping and take the children everywhere with us and so on. The men abdicate responsibility. The better fight would be in the process of selecting a husband; select one who supports our independence and will pay for our driver. I don't see how a license helps women who can't pay for a taxi. They still won't be able to buy a car? A chauffeur is something most people of the world covet. So called supporters are working to deprive us of this luxury. Be careful.

Fatima wrote on May 15, 2011 at 06:55 AM

A Saudi woman drove her son to school on Saturday, May 14th in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, without any problems.

khuloud wrote on May 15, 2011 at 04:20 PM

Go Girls!!!

If you want to drive, then drive. If you want a chauffeur, then have a chauffeur.

But most of all I wish for you the freedom of CHOICE.

Jeni wrote on May 15, 2011 at 07:46 PM

All the best..good decesion goahead....

Tennyson wrote on May 16, 2011 at 12:02 AM

Good Luck all of you Women, time to go ahead ....its your turn now.

yashpaul wrote on May 16, 2011 at 01:20 AM

To the women of Saudi Arabia, You are a shining example to the rest of the world. The Arab culture has much to gain with your independence. God be with you and strengthen you.

Robert wrote on May 16, 2011 at 03:47 AM

Women across the whole world now know about your initiative and send their best wishes to you strong women!

Diane wrote on May 16, 2011 at 09:46 AM

You say, "we have been silent and under the mercy of our guardian" and then "we will deliver a letter of complaint to our father the King of Humanity and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques"

Isn't this a contradiction? The king you call your father is the supreme guardian - and you are at his 'mercy' in all the rights you lack!

anon wrote on May 16, 2011 at 05:45 PM

SubhanAllah, this is the way forward. We need true Islamic values not cultural adaptations and/or subjugation. Islam is about freedom and liberation from the servitude of humanity to the servitude of One God. This is a well tread path of liberation and freedom and the work of the Prophets. May God help and protect you in your cause. Ameen!

Hameed wrote on May 18, 2011 at 11:10 AM

Woman Power! I support this cause 100% !!!

Hira Rashid wrote on May 18, 2011 at 12:43 PM

manal al sharif is in jail now because she droves on saturday, she was catch by secret police at khobar, please tell this to tv medias of your country, all the world must know how we are persecuted if we drive while children 12 years old can drive without problems ,help us contact also the french tv channels tf1 france2 france24 andeuronews, thank you

myriam vollant wrote on May 22, 2011 at 07:57 AM

i really hope this actually takes place and women dont start to get scared of going to jail or scared of other consequences. if i was saudi i would have drove my self instead of having to pay triple the price of gas for a short ride in a smelly taxi. if i drive i would probably be given a final exit. so the power is in your hands as a saudi woman to finally say enough is enough! things have to change! good luck i look forward to seeing this in jeddah on june 17 changing the pace for all women

ht wrote on May 23, 2011 at 02:30 PM

You can work, but can't drive there. You can go to school, but can't drive there. You can do the shopping, but can't drive there. Enough already! The power of choice is my wish for you. I am an American who lived there for one year and was confined to my apartment - I had no driver - no means to go anywhere as my husband took the children to school and then went to work himself. I had to wait the whole day until he came home so that I could go somewhere. I support you 100%

Cheryl El-Sabagh wrote on May 23, 2011 at 04:11 PM

Alhamdullilah, this is very good news, when women stand up for there rights islamicly, the women around the Prophet Muhammed (SAW) and his Sahabs was more respected they hold trades, they educated themself, they was asked for advise, they fought with the men during wars, they was stood next to there men and not behind them in modest humble ways.

Helma wrote on May 26, 2011 at 02:49 AM

GOD Bless U gurlzI wish I can Be With U on that day & inshallah u'll help them 2 open their eyes & c that the woman have all the right 2 live @ the same level as any other man n ksa i support the freedom of choices n life wish u all the best <3 <3

Mira wrote on May 27, 2011 at 11:48 AM

Wish i could join you all, i wish someone also question why there is such distinction in Saudi society, parks and malls 'just for the ladies'...think its very demeaning

Soumya wrote on May 27, 2011 at 02:24 PM

Manal is to Saudi women what Rosa Parker is to black Americans.

Saudi women will get their rights no matter what.

Tahir Ahmed wrote on May 27, 2011 at 09:23 PM

MEN OF SAUDI ARABIA: If you love your mothers, your daughters, your sisters and your wives, STAND UP FOR THEM! Love and TRUST your women and give them this simple right. They need your support NOW.

active wrote on May 29, 2011 at 08:56 PM

is there a law forbidding men to wear Burka's and drive? I would thank all couragous men wearing a Burka on June 17th and driving on the street to support us

Localgirl wrote on June 07, 2011 at 02:16 AM

I do support all the ladies for their decision. this should have had happened a long time ago. what a descrimination for women in KSA.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

malak wrote on June 08, 2011 at 12:23 PM

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