A group of Saudi women have launched an international campaign against the kingdom’s male guardianship law, on the anniversary of a prominent protest, in which dozens of Saudi women publicly drove their cars through the country’s capital.

The campaign calls on supporters all over the world to tie a black ribbon around their wrist signifying a call for Saudi women to be given equal rights to men and an end to the male guardianship system, in which Saudi women are represented by men in all public and official spheres of life.

“We are calling on everybody, both Saudi and non-Saudi, to show their support of Saudi women,” Wajiha Al-Huwaidar, the leader of the campaign, told The Media Line. “It’s not just about the right to drive, it’s everything,” she said. “We want to have our lives back, which the male guardianship system took from us. So we are calling for everyone to wear this black ribbon and spread the word.”

A statement by campaign organizers called for women to be given “rights to marry, divorce, inherit, gain custody of children, travel, work, study, drive cars and live on an equal footing with man.”

“We, Saudi women activists, appeal to all those who support Saudi women’s rights, inside and outside the Kingdom, to participate in the campaign by wearing a black ribbon on their wrists as a symbolic and peaceful gesture of their advocacy to Saudi women’s rights,” the statement read.

Under the motto “we will not untie our ribbon until Saudi women enjoy their rights as adult citizens”, the “Black Ribbon Campaign” was launched Friday to mark the anniversary of a famous event on November 6, 1990, in which 47 Saudi women publicly drove cars through the Saudi capital, Riyadh, in a protest calling for Saudi women to be given the right to drive. The women were subsequently detained by Saudi police, had their passports confiscated, and some were fired from their jobs.

Al-Huwaidar said she expected to receive significant support for the campaign throughout the weekend.

“I am expecting many people to wear it, especially people outside Saudi Arabia,” she said. “Teenagers wear the black ribbon anyway as a fashion. Now they have a reason, so that when someone asks, they will say ‘We are supporting Saudi women.'”

“I am hoping to get famous people to wear it and a group of us will be walking around throughout the day recruiting women,” Al-Huwaidar added. “I’m trying of course to avoid the religious police because they are always around, but we are just asking for our rights.”

Saudi Arabia has seen growing social tension as the younger generation demands a liberalization of the hold the kingdom’s strict religious establishment has over the country’s laws.


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  1. Wow! These women deserve their rights. Lets hope a change is made!!

  2. Dear Jane,

    I salute you!

    Here is something I’ve posted on my blog just a few days ago. I think it have something to do with what you are writing about:

    I think it is time for the Muslim community to come out with a join statement and differentiate itself from the suicide bombers and jihadists!

    I never heard anyone killing people screaming “Jesus is Great!”

    If you kill innocent people in the name of your God that means that something is very, very wrong with your believes.

    A religion which fate produces suicide bombers and killers, hates women and plant intolerance against infidels(whatever that means), obviously tolerates all that comes out of it.

    The killer from Fort Hood haven’t been discarged from the Army because if he was, he was going to sue them back for the violation of his Human Rights! Tiptoiong on a cituation like this one will lead to more innocent victims in the future.

  3. Jane….I read your book, I met and spoke to you at the symposiumspace in NYC a while back and – I read your blog and simply put …you AMAZE me! God bless you and your family! With love and respect…Lisa Hession email:[email protected]

  4. courageous women!! more and more we must stay aware of human’s rights!! Frederique dhenein

  5. Dear Jane,
    When people think of Oregon they think green but I want you to know we are in BLACK. I’ll spread the word.
    Get some rest,

    • Thanks, Raeann> Am trying. I miss Richard!!! Love to Sylvia. xxx

  6. I’m so excited to hear they are making a stand for more rights!! It’s about time!!! I’ve thought about these women many times. It must be a horrible thing to live in such a repressed society! These women who are trying to help make changes are so brave! I do wish them well! Their cry for equality will be heard around the world!! I’ll have to get a black ribbon to wear! Thanks for telling us about this!

  7. I have no access to make a black ribbon, but I am already wearing black. If people ask why, I will say it is because of this.

  8. It’s a shame how many times we take for granted like the ability to even get up an use the restroom at a resturant without being accompanied by a man!

  9. Hi Jane:

    I have really enjoyed reading your blog and getting to know more about you.
    I would really like to invite you to take a look at the following website about a WWII film set in Italy. We would love your support and it would be wonderful if you could mention it on twitter if you like to the context of the film at all…

    Many thanks and a very happy New Year to you!!


    • Thanks, Sarah, but unfortunately i am on crushing book deadline and cannot takethe time to watch the film you mention. Nothing extracurricular for me till mid-May.

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