Sunday, March 7, 2010

Video: Women Who Drove in KSA in 1990

In 1990, Saudi women organized a peaceful demonstration by taking to the streets behind the wheels of the cars they own but are prohibited from driving in this country.

That was twenty years ago, and women here are still not allowed to drive.

Many of the women were arrested for this act of civil disobediance and those who participated in this demonstration were labeled "The Advocates of Vice and Corruption on Earth."

There is no specific law which prohibits women from driving in Saudi Arabia, but women are arrested for "immoral acts" when they do.

Advocates for women driving in the Kingdom say that it is hypocritical to ban women from driving because it is immoral, when women are forced to hire drivers, placing them in a situation where they are alone with unrelated men in a vehicle, which is also considered immoral.

If you can't view the video, here is the direct link to the short video documentary on Women Driving in KSA.


  1. "There is no specific law who prohibits women from driving in Saudi Arabia but women are arrested for "immoral acts" when they do."

    That's very interesting! I thought there WAS an actual law. Now when people ask me about that (as they seem to think a woman in hijab will know everything there is to know about saudi arabia), I can be more informed! :p

  2. Hope people won't think that the prohibition of driving for a woman finds its inspiration in Islam because it would be false. The proof is that Saudi Arabia is the only muslim country where women can't drive. And as a muslim woman, i think it's totally stupid and not-islamic. Like the salesmen in lingerie shop.
    Sorry for my not-very-good english!

  3. Obviously the men in SA have all the power and the women are intimidated into being 2nd class citizens. Again, a very sad state of affairs for the year 2010. When you speak to the women there Susie, are they truly ok with the way they are made to live?

  4. That's awful. How do your husband and son feel about it?

  5. I've been driving since I was 12 (don't ask why), but not letting me drive would be like cutting my arms off... I would feel so helpless.

    I take this privilege for granted and I shouldn't... I say privilege because there are so many people all over the world who really should not be behind the wheel because of their careless ways... but anyway, I digress.

    I really hope women are given this freedom in KSA soon, it's 2010 for Pete's sake! :0)

  6. Hi Hannah - LOL! So everybody thinks you know everything about KSA just because you wear hijab? Funny!

    Hi Anon/Aisha/Stephanie - Obviously it is not Islam that prohibits women from driving, however the wierd thing is that all the reasons/explanations given by men here all seem to point back to Islam in some way. I totally agree with you - it's totally ridiculous and un-Islamic!

    Hi Lori - You know, honestly, many of the Saudi women I know here (like in my husband's family) are quite content with their lives and just accept things the way they are. I do know other Saudi women who want change. Until change is demanded by more men here though, most women will be too afraid to speak up without their husbands' support. The men hold all the cards here...

  7. Hi Gigi - My son thinks it's ridiculous that women cannot drive here. My husband thinks it's far too dangerous out on the streets for women to be added into the mix. One problem is that there seems to be absolutely no traffic rules, and if there are, they are not enforced at all. I have never seen drivers doing things like I have seen here - it's unbelievable really.

    Hi Angel - Needless to say, having driven for 40 years before I came here and always having my own car and free will, it has been an extremely difficult adjustment for me here.

  8. I honestly don't understand why any woman would voluntarily stay in a country this restrictive of her human rights.

  9. Thank you Susie for the lovely post, and for sharing the video.
    I hope you don't mind me posting the video on my blog :)

  10. very interesting video. I wish we could see the rest of the documentary.

  11. Saudi men...they have their own rules in this world!
    I guess they worry all the time what other MEN could do to their property: wife, car, business, house etc.
    They must have terrible stress all the time?


  12. I am a fan of Susie topics.
    The key to new Saudi Arabia is a new era for Saudi women.An era where women of Saudi Arabia are able not only to drive but also to be members of the Saudi council( Shoura),to have more jobs allocated to them, to have fair trails in courts , to enable them to make choices on their lives out of men control.The list is endless .Local news talk about this everyday but actions from concern parties are so slow and you need a microscope to see them.

  13. I agree with BLOGitse ..We Saudi men do have big big stress.We are doing things we cannot tolerate.Men are not encouraged to get married because of those kind of stresses .I just hope that things get loose with time. Government,tribes and individuals must play their part too .for example suppose the government quit recruiting drivers .. Saudi Women will eventually must drive .Thanks Susie for the topic.

  14. Hi Anon@1:24AM - What we are willing to do for love and family may be hard for some to understand. Yes, there are many things that could be better here and it will require lots more time and effort from many people to effect change. But personally, I am not abused or mistreated and my husband loves me and makes sure that I get what I need and want, if he is at all able. I'm safe and well provided for. I may not be allowed to drive here, but there are worse things in the world. And we still have hope that one day, this will change.

  15. I'm pretty sure there IS a law that women can't drive. It became a law after the driving protest. King Abdullah has said this is a family/societal issue- not a religious one, and that the law will change when society is ready. Personally, I would prefer decisive leadership on this issue. After all, no one will be FORCED to drive, so let people make there own choice.

  16. Hi Wafa' - Yes, post it! The more who see it, the better!

    Hi Anon@4:32AM - I've been looking for other parts of the documentary. If I find them, I will post them...

    Hi BLOGitse - I think they DO worry a lot...

    Hi FreeSpirit - I always get excited when I see a Comment from you because I love how your mind thinks! Women's equality is something we both would like to see here in KSA. Thanks for your comments!

  17. Brave women indeed who went into this demonstration. Thanks for sharing the video with us.

    Your husband thinks it's far too dangerous out on the streets for women to be added into the mix ? How about hoping that women at the wheel would restore sanity to the road?

    Glad to know that your son's reasoning hasn't been affected by his stay in KSA.

  18. I was in Jeddah last month - and if you paid me a million dollars - I would not get behind the wheel - the driving is crazy over there! It seems to me that the rich dont mind having drivers - If I was rich I wouldnt mind a driver too! But I would hate to live in a country where I had to depend on a ride! I have 3 female cousins - who are single, they have no male relatives- who live with them or near them and they take a taxi daily out of necessity - this means my single female cousins are forced to be in a car with a strange man daily and they are forced to buy undergarments from men - my husband tells me that many of the rules are to protect the women - well I dont see how my cousins are protected!

  19. Hey Susie...nice post..
    Just a quick comment (off topic)...
    the lady's accent in the video is just too tribal..too Saudi..too awful...sorry :)
    just for the record.. I don't speak English this horrible way :) Maybe I am accent-prejudiced...can't help hating an English-Bedouin accent...and an English-Hijazi accent is worse...

    will be back to comment later..
    thanks for the video...

  20. Wow, what a video! I'm just shaking my head in disbelief at the fallen nature of these women.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    For the record, I like the woman's accent. :)