The Everyday Privilege We Forget About

When you jump in your car to head to work, to get ice cream, or to take the kids to dance class, you aren’t necessarily excited. But last weekend 50 women in Saudi Arabia fought for that privilege—they took matters, and wheels, into their own hands to protest the law against women driving. They didn’t just drive, they also got the word out by making proud YouTube videos of their rebellious act. Imagine making all three meals without being able to drive to the grocery.

Last month, there were nearly ten arrests for women driving, but during this protest there surprisingly were none, although a few received tickets for driving without a license (um, how would they get one?). They have reached out to powerful female leaders around the world for help, including Hillary Clinton, but have not received their support.

The real issue seems to be not that women would be allowed to drive, but that it would increase their number of interactions with men in the community when they were unaccompanied. They may have to interact with mechanics, gas station personnel, and endless other male contacts in the community.

When we turned 16 and got our licenses, we were on a high thanks to our newfound freedom to move about the community at our own will. These women are still fighting for that right, and progress does not seem likely in their conservative environments, considering the last protest was twenty years ago with a similar number of protesters. Read more here.