Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Luxury, status, wealth and importance are all ideas that come mind when we think of having a personal driver. Well, it what some people in this world think of when it comes to chauffeuring. If you are a woman and live in Saudi Arabia, however, you most likely think the opposite. Oppression, inequality and control are the conflicting beliefs if you are a Saudi female. This is due to the Saudi law that bans women from driving.

King Abdullah just took giant steps forward with women's rights this week by finally allowing Saudi female suffrage. This is a tremendous step towards equality, but still not allowing women to drive is overshadowing this monumental change in the society.

So what are women doing to show solidarity on this issue? They are taking to the streets-literally. All across the country women documented themselves driving cars in protest. This protest was arranged primarily through social media. #Right2drive covered twitter posts and informed women what they would be doing to raise awareness about this injustice. The BBC documented some of these protesters and described how different their lives would be if they could have this right. Also documented was how much social media helped further exposure and spread the word for this protest.

Social media has made large strides since the uprisings in the region this year, but usage is still far below averages in other parts of the world. Fadi Salem of the Dubai School of Government recognizes the correlation between the use of the Internet and a more stable economy, and how the Internet has helped the economy grow in Saudi Arabia. Salem believes that a similar trend will come with social media as well, and the growth has already begun.

Facebook and Twitter have recently proven to be powerful tools all over the world, and not simply for "social" or recreational uses. They are liberating the suppressed, engaging the outsiders and now helping to create a women's movement. I have to say I "like" this.

Photo credits: NY Times


Mike Tweeton October 3, 2011 at 6:22 PM  

Great post Megan. It is sometimes very humbling to think of the things we take for granted. I cannot imagine living in as such as this.

One thing that I think you really got right in your post is referring to social media as a “tool”. Many view social media as something pedantic and unworthy of consideration. I too felt this way before using it. But once the door is open, users can experience the power of instant information. The example you provided is a fantastic way of showing just how powerful communication is today. Pedal to the metal ladies.

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