Women2Drive Day in Saudi Arabia

Saudi women, start your engines. A campaign to defy Saudi Arabia's ban on women driving gets underway today. We speak with a woman who's risked her safety to take the wheel twice and find out what's behind the road rebellion.



Part Three of The Current

Women2Drive Day in Saudi Arabia - Eman Al Nafjan

We started this segment with a clip from Manal al Sharif, speaking with a passenger in her car as she drives through town. A mundane scene anywhere else, but this is Saudi Arabia.

Women don't get to do a lot of things here and one of them -- is drive. She posted this driving video on YouTube last month. It led to her arrest and imprisonment. She's since been released. But while Manal al Sharif is in the back seat for now, her case prompted an international call for women in Saudi Arabia to jump behind the wheels of their cars today and hit the road.

For the latest on what's happening in Saudi Arabia we were joined now by Eman Al Nafjan - she's a blogger in Saudi Arabia. We've reached her in Riyadh.

Women2Drive Day in Saudi Arabia - Najla Hariri

Najla Hariri didn't wait for today's official driving campaign to begin. She's been behind the wheel twice in the last month. She lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. But this morning we reached her in Cairo, Egypt, where she's attending her daughter's graduation.

Women2Drive Day in Saudi Arabia - Ebtihal Mubarak

Of course, many people in Saudi Arabia do not want women driving. Abd Al Azziz Fawzan is a Saudi cleric, author and academic. We aired a clip.

Ebtihal Mubarak is a Saudi journalist who has an extensive history of involvement in this issue. She helped to present a petition to the Saudi King in 2007 asking that women be allowed to drive. Ebtihal Mubarak was in our New York studio this morning.

To get the perspective of the Saudi government we did request various interviews, including with the Saudi ambassador to Canada. But no one was available to speak with us.

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Last Word - Saudi Woman Chauffeur

So, as we heard, a woman can get into a lot of trouble with the Saudis just for driving. And they don't even have to be in Saudi Arabia.

For our last word today, we heard from a woman hired to chauffeur some Saudi VIPs around Minnesota when they visited the Mayo Clinic.


Other segments from today's show:

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