Published: 2017-10-12 15:54
Last Updated: 2017-10-12 16:28
Saudi activist Manal Al-Sharif praised the government’s decision to lift the ban on female drivers in Saudi Arabia, and said that the time for women to be silent is over, according to CNN.
Al-Sharif told AFP that Saudi women’s next battle is in abolishing the system of male guardianship, which requires women to get permission from a designated male family member on anything from travel to enrolling at university.
“There is no time for us to be silent anymore," she told AFP at the Frankfurt book fair, commenting on the royal decree allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia. "Speak up, that is the only way to bring awareness and change things in Saudi Arabia,” she added.
Al-Sharif has long fought for women’s rights in the ultraconservative Kingdom. In 2001, a video of her driving in Saudi Arabia as part of the “Woman2Drive” campaign went viral, which led to her arrest for ‘driving while female,’ and to sentencing her to a nine-day prison sentence.
Saudi Arabia was the one and only country in the world to prohibit women from driving, which was considered a form of repression by women’s rights movements around the world.
The announcement to lift the driving ban was followed, for the first time ever, by gender-mixed celebrations on Saudi National Day, despite a backlash from religious conservatives.