It had been 21 years since the first attempt to break the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia in 1990. These women faced swift repercussions and few attempts at protests have been made since that time.
But everything changed on June 17, 2011, when we started #Women2Drive movement. I was sent to jail for posting a video of me driving as part of the campaign, but nonetheless, dozens of brave women dared to drive on June 17th, 2011. The struggle never stopped but continued with more campaigns throughout the years. The October 26th, 2013 campaign led by the Saudi blogger Dr. Eman Alnafjan followed by Loujain Al-Hathloul attempted to cross Saudi borders coming from the UAE. She was later joined by the Saudi journalist Maysa Al-Amoudi, both were arrested and sent to jail for 72 days. The #iammyownguardian campaign also went viral connecting activists within and outside the Kingdom globally to raise awareness of male guardianship laws in Saudi Arabia that forbid women to travel, marry or even exit prison without the permission of a male relative.
Women campaigning to end this ban have lost their freedom, their jobs, jeopardized their safety and had their cars confiscated and held. They have been harassed, jailed and their families have been targeted. They have been called every degrading name and viciously attacked. They have lost their lives as they have known it for daring to drive on the streets of Saudi Arabia.
Today, Sep 26th, 2017, marks the date we end one of the most draconian laws in modern history. Women’s rights activists will still continue to observe how this law is implemented and monitored and will continue campaigning to abolish the male guardianship imposed on them. We ask for nothing short of full equality for women.
We pay respect to the women and men who have fought in this struggle. It’s just the start to end long-standing unjust laws have always considered Saudi women minors who are not trusted to drive their own destiny.
The rain begins with a single drop!