"All I did was ask for rights. I didn't attack anyone. I didn't harass anyone. I didn't oppose the system or the country or the authority. All I said is, 'Why can't I drive?'" – Manal al-Sharif
American women may take the right to drive for granted, but the women of Saudi Arabia had to create a revolution to try to take the wheel.
Steering this attempted change of rights on her nation's roads was Manal al-Sharif, an information technology consultant who is notably involved in the women's rights movement.
In May of 2011, she was filmed driving a car in Saudi Arabia. Her post of the video on YouTube inspired creation of the Women2Drive campaign and attracted an international following in support. The international support, however, did not keep her out of jail and she spent nine days in custody.
Her book, Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening, will be published in June in time for her Council appearance on the 16th.
An advance review by bestselling author Deborah Feldman (Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots), declared, "Future generations will marvel at Manal al-Sharif, whose voice is laden with quiet dignity even at its most urgent. Her gripping account of homegrown courage will speak to the fighter in all of us. Books like this one can change the world."
Al-Sharif, who has a Bachelor of Science in Computing from King Abdulaziz University, continues to work for women's rights, adding several issues to her focus including guardianship annulment (a male guardian is required for each woman and limits personal rights, opponents say) and family protection. She is a founder of several groups in Saudi Arabia with the title "My Rights, My Dignity."
"A child cannot be free if his/her mother is not free. A husband cannot be free if his wife is not free. The society is nothing if women are nothing." – Manal al-Sharif
Part of the KRLD/WACDFW Summer Series