Saudi Arabian Women Protest For Driving Rights

 

Saudi Arabian women are staging protests in a campaign that should give them the right to drive a car. In the Arabian monarchy women are not allowed to have houses or other property. They are not allowed to vote and Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that forbids women to drive a car. They must ride in taxis or get someone else to drive them to places.

In the past few weeks more and more women in the country have been protesting against this ban. They have been inspired by the revolutions that went on throughout the Arab world in the spring and summer of 2010. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter have helped in organizing the protests.

 

Although there is no official law that forbids women to drive a car, authorities do not give driving licenses to women. Islamic clergymen claim that not allowing women to drive protects them from getting into contact with other men.

As women in Saudi Arabia live increasingly modern and Western lives they are frustrated by the driving ban and must depend on others to do the shopping or bring the children to school.

In the past week 8 women have been arrested for breaking the law and driving their car. Some of them were even fired from their jobs. A 32-year old woman was arrested because she posted a video on YouTube showing her behind the steering wheel.

In 2005 the king of Saudi Arabia promised women that the driving ban would be lifted but he did not say when this would happen. Earlier protests by Saudi women have failed. In the early 1990s almost 50 women were arrested because of driving cars. They lost their jobs and were not allowed to travel abroad any more.

 

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Words

  • abroad = to another country
  • although = while
  • arrest = to take someone to a police station because they have done something illegal
  • ban = a law that does not allow something
  • campaign = fight, movement, operation
  • clergyman = here: a Muslim priest
  • depend on = need
  • driving license = a document or card that says you are allowed to drive
  • fail = not to succeed; if something does not work
  • fire = to make someone leave their job
  • forbid = not allow
  • frustrated = upset, angry
  • increasingly = more and more
  • inspire = encourage, motivate; to talk someone into doing something
  • law = rules in a country
  • lift = to make something go away
  • monarchy = country ruled by a king or queen
  • promise = to say that you will do something
  • property = land
  • social network = people who get together in groups and discuss things or communicate on Internet platforms
  • stage = organize
  • steering wheel = a wheel that you turn to control the direction of a car
  • throughout = in all of