Smashing the Patriarchy! / Penina Schiffman, Senior Group Leader

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is notorious for its oppression of the female population and is the only country left in the world that had yet to grant women the right to drive a vehicle in public. Or it maybe more appropriate at this point to say "was" the last country in the world. Last month, the Saudi Foreign Ministry announced that a royal decree has been issued that will allow women to drive by next June in 2018. Leaders and Saudi Arabia's ambassadors to the world called this "a historic day" for the women of Saudi Arabia and for the progression of women's rights as a whole. Up until now, small groups of women would gather in hidden places of the country to practice driving as only men were permitted to receive a license from the state. Women who drove in public ran the risk of being arrested and fined which was even in the public eye in the first protest against the ban in 1990 when a group of women drove to Riyadh and were arrested and some even lost their jobs.

The "Women2Drive" campaign on twitter gained international attention when a 33 year old Saudi woman posted a video of her driving on the streets of the Kingdom to Youtube and caused world wide uproar. After granting women the right to vote and run for seats on the Kingdom's local council in 2015, by 2018 women will be permitted to obtain a license without the permission of a male guardian. Could it be that one of the most oppressive regimes in the world is finally headed towards change?