Saudi women encouraged to drive today

Saudi women are being encouraged to challenge the status quo and get behind the wheel today.

Though there are no traffic laws that make it illegal for women to drive in Saudi Arabia, religious edicts are often interpreted as a ban against female drivers. One female motorist spent more than a week in custody in May, supporters said.

The day is expected to be a test of wills — and authority — between police and the Women2Drive campaign being promoted via social media (Women2Drive on Twitter & Women2Drive on Facebook.)

Authorities stopped Manal al Sharif, 32, for driving a car on May 21 and detained her the next day. She said she was forced to sign a form promising not to drive again and spent a week in jail.

Al Sharif has not been charged, but the case remains open and she may be called back, according to human rights activist Waleed Abu Alkhair.

In an interview with CNN before her detention, al Sharif said she was determined to speak out.

“We have a saying,” she said. “The rain starts with a single drop. This is a symbolic thing.”

Strict segregation by sex means women in Saudi Arabia can’t travel without a male relative or take public transportation.

Source: CNN

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