Pin It
M.I.A. in the "Bad Girls" video

Saudi women are holding a ‘right to drive’ protest

It's the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive

Saudi women are holding a right-to-drive protest this weekend, in opposition to the absolutely batshit law that prevents women from operating a car in Saudi Arabia. The country is the only one in the world that prevents women from driving – a state of affairs that M.I.A. took on in her "Bad Girls" video, which featured Saudi women behind the wheel.

Activists are encouraging women to post pictures of themselves driving under the hashtag #IWillDriveMyself this Sunday, which marks the one year anniversary of the campaign. More than 2,700 people have signed a petition calling for the ban to be overturned. Women are also expected to take to the roads en masse to publicly register their displeasure at being banned from the roads. 

Saudi authorities said that they will deal firmly with anyone taking part in the protest. The Interior Ministry said in a statement that it will "firmly apply the laws against anyone who participates in a protest by female drivers", referring to the protest as "an opportunity for predators to undermine social cohesion". Ah yes – all those predatory, anarchic women drivers.

In 2011, a woman was sentenced to ten lashes by whip for driving. Her sentence was eventually overturned by the ruler of the country, King Abdullah. Al-Arabiya reports that 16 women were fined for getting behind the wheel last year.