Saudi Women Can Vote in Meaningless Elections, But They Still Can’t Drive

Wednesday, September 28, 2011
(photo: Amena Bakr, Reuters, Landov)
On the same day it gave women the power to vote in certain elections, the government of Saudi Arabia reinforced its conservative policies by moving ahead with trying a woman for driving a car.
With respect to the suffrage change, women will be able to vote in municipal elections starting in 2015. But only half of the country’s municipal council seats are elected (the other half being appointed by the government). In addition, “the powers of the councils remain unclear and are not significant,” according to Human Rights Watch.
As for the trial, Najalaa Harrir was questioned by the prosecutor general of Jeddah on Sunday, an indication that the government intends to take her to trial for violating the ban on women driving cars. Harrir is one of many Saudi female activists pushing the “My Right, My Dignity” campaign aimed at ending discrimination against women, including the driving ban.
In addition to Harrir, other women have been arrested for defying officials by driving. A Saudi court this week sentenced a woman named Shema to 10 lashes for operating an automobile, and two others are due to appear in court later this year on similar charges.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Saudi Woman Arrested for Driving a Car (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
Saudi Crackdown…on Women’s Gyms (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Leave a comment