Women and the Stability of Saudi Arabia

by Eleanor Abdella Doumato
published in MER171

On November 6, 1990, some 50 women met in a supermarket parking lot in Riyadh. The women dismissed their drivers and drove their cars in tandem through the streets of Riyadh, defying publicly an unofficial but strictly observed ban on women’s driving. In Saudi Arabia, where women may not travel without permission from their nearest male relative, work where men are present or even enter most government ministries, and where political gatherings for everyone, men and women, are illegal, the driving demonstration was viewed as revolutionary.

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