Saudi women to put their foot down on driving ban

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The Independent Online

Women in the only country in the world which still bans women from driving want to put their best foot forward – on the accelerator.

Saudi Arabia's newly established League of Demanders of Women's Right to Drive Cars plans to deliver a petition to King Abdallah Bin Abd Al-Aziz Al Saud, calling for their "stolen" entitlement of free movement to be restored.

In a statement on the Arab website Aafaq, the women said: "This is a right that was enjoyed by our mothers and grandmothers in complete freedom, through the means of transportation available."

In Saudi Arabia, a woman's right to drive has been a matter of heated debate for years. In 1990 a group of middle class women were arrested when they staged protest drives.

London-based Saudi political analyst and author Mai Yamani pointed out that reformist moves to slowly lift the barriers on women working meant little if they could not drive. You can't keep a woman locked up so she can't get out, drive her child to school. It is a basic necessity," Ms Yamani said. "I definitely believe it is time women were allowed to drive."

The league is led by Wajeha al-Huwaidar, and intends to deliver its message on 23 September, Saudi Arabia's national holiday.