The Women2Drive Campaign

Athens, Greece, 28 and 29 June 2011


In Saudi Arabia some courageous women have began a campaign for women to have the right to drive in the country that has become known as the Women2drive Campaign.

The campaign for female driving rights is meant to challenge public authorities by refusing to respect the driving ban imposed on women.

The activists of this campaign decided to turn a growing number of YouTube videos that show women driving into a bigger event – a mass drive that would take place on 17 June. One of the founders and activists of the campaign, Manal al-Sharif, went out for a drive prior to the mass drive in order to raise awareness and encourage younger women to take part in the 17 June mass drive. She was arrested by the religious police for no apparent legal reason, but then later released after promising not to drive anymore. She was later arrested again for uploading a video on the Internet of herself driving, but was again released.

Her example was followed on 17 June by some other women all over the country. The exact figure of how many women participated in this mass drive is not known because of the public censorship of the campaign. The only information available came through the social media and referred to individual cases of women driving who had posted their videos or had put messages on the Internet.

The international attention raised through the Internet had an impact – most of the women driving on 17 June were not even approached by the police, the names of some of the women were reported but just two women were briefly detained followed by immediate release. None of them were arrested.

The driving ban for women in Saudi Arabia is only one manifestation of the conservative, patriarchal and sexist culture which permeates all aspects of life in Saudi Arabia, a country where women are not allowed to vote and which scores zero in the category of political empowerment according to the Global Gender Gap Report of 2009 published by the World Economic Forum 2009 and which ranks Saudi Arabia at 130 out of 134 countries for gender parity.

This situation is unacceptable and the world cannot continue to be silent.

Therefore the Socialist international Women:

Supports the Women2drive campaign;

Considers this campaign to be a step in the process of emancipation of women in Saudi Arabia;

Expresses its solidarity and admiration for all women promoting the campaign and for those involved in the event of 17 June;

Congratulates the leaders of the campaign for choosing a peaceful way to advance their request to end the driving ban for women and for their work in raising international awareness of the ban;

Condemns Saudi Arabian authorities for exercising censorship against the campaign and

States its concern of the condition of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia and blames the authorities of depriving women of their human rights.





Nobel Peace Prize 2018

05 October 2018

The Socialist International Women (SIW) would like to warmly congratulate the Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege and Yazidi campaigner Nadia Murad on winning the 2018 Nobel peace prize for their work on combating sexual violence...

Obituary - Maria Jonas

01 February 1940 - 25 September 2018

We were deeply saddened to hear today that our comrade and friend Maria Jonas, former Secretary General of Socialist International Women, has died at the age of 78 years...

Coucil Meeting

Geneva, Switzerland, 28 and 29 June 2018

For a World 50-50 in 2030 – The Great Challenges

Socialist International Women denounces brutal attacks on Palestinian demonstrators

17 May 2018

The Socialist International Women strongly denounces the use of lethal fire by Israeli military forces against Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza on Sunday 14 May 2018...

Connecting Rural Women – E-Development and Rural Women's Empowerment

16 March 2018

62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), United Nations, New York, from 12 to 23 March 2018

Side Event hosted by the Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the UN; the Mongolian People’s Party; Socialist International Women(SIW) and PES Women

Empowering Rural Women: Granting Universal Rights to Sexual and Reproductive Health Services

15 March 2018

62nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), United Nations, New York, from 12 to 23 March 2018

Parallel Event hosted by the Socialist International Women (SIW), PES Women and Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS)

International Women's Day Declaration

08 March 2018

In solidarity and recognition of the immense societal, economic and political achievements of women and girls worldwide Socialist International Women is proud to support International Women’s Day (IWD) 2018...

Statement on Unilateral Decision by the United States of America to Recognise Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel

07 December 2017

The Socialist International Women (SIW) disapproves the decision of President Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate the US embassy there from Tel Aviv...

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

25 November 2017

Socialist International Women affirms its support for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women as an opportunity to focus on the continuing suffering and oppression of women and girls worldwide, and the vital roles that governments and individuals have in creating positive change...

Council Meeting

Barcelona, Spain, 21 and 22 November 2017

Democracy in Crisis, Populism on the Rise - Where do Women's Rights fit in?

Council Meeting

United Nations, New York, 14 July 2017

Rural Areas, Media and ICT - New Challenges and More Opportunities for Women’s Empowerment

In Memory of Carmen Chacón

13 March 1971 - 09 April 2017

The Socialist International Women was deeply saddened to receive the news of the death of Carmen Chacón on 09 April 2017 at the age of 46 years...

Council Meeting and XXI Congress

25 - 27 February 2017

Gender Inequality in the World Today – Understanding the New Challenges and Ending Gender Inequality by 2030


The First Hundred Years

A Short History of Socialist International Women

By Irmtraut Karlsson

This book tells the history of the first one hundred years of the Socialist International Women