Who Really Put Saudi Women Behind The Wheel?

Mona Eltahawy writes for the New York Times about Saudi women securing the right to drive cars. 

Image A Saudi woman testing out her future car at an automobile showroom this 
month, a head of gaining the right to drive. CreditFaisal Al Nasser/Reuters

Feminism terrifies authoritarians.

Why else would the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman — the heir-apparent of an absolute monarchy that has ruled since 1932 over a country named after its patriarch — hold Loujain al-Hathloul, a 28-year-old graduate student, incommunicado for weeks?

Why would he, after being lauded on CBS’s “60 Minutes” for “emancipating women” on the eve of a visit to America last March, send forces in May to arrest 17 women’s rights activists, among them Ms. Hathloul, and also Aisha al-Mana, 70, a director of hospitals and a college for health sciences who suffered a stroke last year?

What threat does a 60-year-old retired professor, Aziza al-Yousef — a mother of five and grandmother of eight who was also arrested — pose that merits a pro-government newspaper putting her picture on its front page under the headline, “You and Your Treachery Have Failed”?

Mona Eltahawy writes about gender issues in the Middle East and around the globe.

Follow Mona Eltahawy on Twitter @monaeltahawy


  1. Wish I owned a car dealership there ,,and a funeral parlour

  2. Surely there's none braver than a woman's right activist in Saudi Arabia?

  3. Now the good ladies in Saudi can now burn rubber in Arabia .....Hands up who thinks Sophia was pre programmed to give it the habdulla's five times a day, forced to cover up her buttons. Would Sophia drive an Eton Must driverless AI controlled Tesla?

    A robot, with a female name given full Saudi Arabian citizenship
    a good 7mths before Abdul's wife could put a pair of L plates up on her porche. All I know is the maths don't add up in my head.

  4. An after thought, what if Sophia has been pre programmed with the habdulla's, what happens after all the block chains are intergrated. Sophia starts communicating with your Alexa or Siri or your fridge starts to refuse your pork chops and starts reminding you to give it the habdulla's.

    Frankie: "Spock what do you think?"

    Spock: "Frankie in a word"