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To Drive or Not to Drive!

Rights aren’t given, they are taken and if you aren’t willing to stand up and make a sacrifice for those rights, then just forget it.  Black people would never gotten their rights, if Rose Parks had chosen to give up her seat  to the white man in the bus, and let’s imagine the history of black people, if Marten luther King had chosen to remain silent and hadn’t given his revolutionary speech.   Every movement in the world, regardless of how peaceful it appears, hasn’t succeeded without sacrifices.

Saudi women have been dreaming for more than twenty years to get their basic civil rights, to be like every woman in the world: to drive their cars, to travel without a permission or restriction, to be treated as a citizen like men, to have their voices heard, to be ministers and decision makers and to have equal opportunities in education and work.  None of these has been achieved so far. What has been achieved recently is that Saudi women are now allowed to sell lingerie, instead of men in Malls!

Many Saudi women have spoken about their struggles in newspapers and public media, but very few of them have taken action in the ground to actually change the society. Words are powerful, but not enough to change the reality.

Today, Saudi women are planning to make a history and challenge the society by driving their cars in public. I believe that this step, if they make it, is a significant turning point in women struggle in Saudi. If women were able to enforce their rights to drive, they will then realize that they are also capable of enforcing their rights to work, to travel without permission and to vote.

Now the question that everyone keeps asking is that will Saudi women break the fear barriers and drive their cars today?

 To Drive or Not to Drive, that is the question!

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discussion, Gender, Politics

Top Five Fallacies about Women Driving in Saudi

Here are the common five fallacies about not allowing Saudi women driving with my respond to each one of them:

  1. Women driving will increase the traffic:
    Many saudi fear that streets and highways would be extremely crowded when women are allowed to drive and this isn’t true. In fact, allowing women to drive will decrease the traffic.
    In Saudi, Traffic occurs in the peak time especially in the early morning when employees go to work and in the beginning of the night when many Saudi go with their families to supermarket and other things. Now, if women were allowed to drive, they  would have flexible time to go to supermarket and finish home needs instead of just being confined on one specific time (like until their father or husband get back from work). This would decrease the traffic in the peak time.
  2. Women driving will increase the pollution:
    You may wonder since when Saudi began to care about environment and pollution! Ironically, Saudi began to think about being environmental only in the issue of women driving.  This country has no recycling programs, no public transportation to help decrease cars pollution, and no social awareness at all about the environment and yet when it comes to women driving, everyone is beginning to react as if the environment was the center of his attention.
  3. Flirting and sexual harassment:
    Saudi who have been outside of KSA respect fully the law of the country. I rarely heard a Saudi harassing an American woman or a Kuwait woman just because he sees her driving.   A lot of Saudi guys go to Bahrain in the weekend, some for the sake of enjoyment like watching movie, other for getting drunk and having fun with women in night clubs and yet they don’t have any problem with women driving there. So, what is the magic thing that drive Saudi crazy when they see Saudi women driving? I don’t know!
    By the way, many Saudi women get sexually harassed from Taxi drivers so allowing them to drive will really decrease this problem.
  4. Women driving will increase the rate of accidents
    I don’t understand how people sometimes make a conclusion on argument without having a sound and rational premiss like saying that “women are very emanational and not physically strong to drive therefore, allowing them to drive would lead to more accidents”. Sounds stupid, right? but honestly many people have this mentality of thinking. Now, Saudi is ranked among the top countries in car accidents and so if we follow the same mentality of thinking, we can make exactly the same conclusion and say:  Saudi men shouldn’t be allowed to drive because of their irresponsible driving skills!
  5.  Women driving is prohibited in Islam:
    It is either Saudi think they are the only one in the world who follow Islam and consider all other Islamic countries as sinners for allowing women to drive, or we have really stupid religious group who invent Fatwa as they wish and like. We are sick and tired of people telling us what is sinful and what is not, and how we should live our life or shouldn’t! If you think women driving is sinful and Haram, that is great! you can enforce your belief on your family, but not on the whole country.