Cross posted from Memri
Special Dispatch No. 1875 March 18, 2008
Saudi Arabia/Reform Project
On March 17, 2008, Alarabiya.net reported that the Saudi Shura Council has recommended allowing women to drive. The recommendation follows recent efforts by Saudi women rights activists headed by Wajeha Al-Huwaidar and Fawziya Al-Uyuni. Ten days ago Al-Huwaidar marked the International Women’s Day, March 8, 2008 by driving her car in Saudi Arabia appealing to the minister of interior, Prince Nayef to allow women to drive. Her driving was posted on Youtube and received international attention.(1) [To view the clip translated into English see MEMRI TV clip No. 1712, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1712.htm ]
The following is a summary of the Saudi Shura Council recommendation.
A source in Saudi Arabia's Shura Council reports that the council has submitted a recommendation to senior elements in the country to permit women to drive vehicles, with the following stipulations:
* The woman driver must be under 30.
* The woman's driving is conditional upon the permission of a relative [father, husband, brother, or son].
* The woman driver must obtain a driver's license from the center for teaching women to drive.
* The woman driver must be modestly dressed.
* The woman driver will be permitted to drive alone in the cities, but outside the cities she must be accompanied by a relative.
* The woman driver will be permitted to drive Saturday through Wednesday between 7:00 AM and 8:00 PM.
* The woman driver must have a cell phone with her, so she can call for help in an emergency.
* The woman driver must pay a certain sum when her license is issued; this sum will be set aside for car repairs.
The Shura Council also ordered the following:
* The establishment of a special women's transportation department; this department will collect the fees.
* The establishment of a telephone emergency center.
* The establishment of transportation centers for women in the cities, which will be under religious supervision.
The council stipulated that a woman driver who violates these rules will have her license revoked.
In the framework of this recommendation, the Shura Council is required to impose a one-month prison sentence and a fine on anyone talking with a woman driver from another car, and an eight-month prison sentence and a fine on anyone who sexually harasses a woman driver.
A transportation administration source reports that the Shura Council has as yet issued no guidelines for establishing a women's transportation department.
And now let's here from NOW:
Hillary Rodham Clinton won rousing victories in Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island on Tuesday, proving once again that not only is she a fighter, but also that she can win key battleground states the Democrats need in November.
Women own just five percent of commercial broadcast TV stations and six percent of all full-power radio stations. Whenever the FCC allows big media companies to gobble up more stations, it leaves fewer outlets for women and people of color to purchase.
With the critical Ohio primary rapidly approaching, NOW volunteers and PAC staff are traveling to the Buckeye State to support Ohio NOW activists in getting out the women's vote.
"We are well into the 21st century, yet women ski jumpers still are not permitted to compete at their sport's highest level," said Kim Gandy in a statement issued at a Women's Ski Jumping USA rally held in Vancouver, Canada.
Donna Edwards' primary victory in Maryland's heavily Democratic 4th District almost guarantees she will become the state's first African-American woman to serve in the U.S. Congress.
"Media misogyny has reached an all time high, and David Shuster's remarks on MSNBC about Chelsea Clinton are only the latest example," says NOW President Kim Gandy.
"Hillary Clinton is a national leader of the highest order, with the strength and determination and experience to deliver real change to our country. She has been a leader on women's rights and civil rights for over 30 years," writes Kim Gandy.
Job openings at the National Action Center in Washington, D.C. include a Direct Mail Production Coordinator.
The rights of women ski jumpers? Excuse me... but is anybody home here? Hello??? We have a question for you...
Where the hell are you?
"Where are you and all of those other militant feminist organizations who are supposed to be championing the causes of women? Where are those powerful voices of protest that were so vocal and pervasive all during the sixties and seventies? Where are all those multitudinous angry demonstrations and those media-savvy bra-burnings now? Where are you NOW that we, the world, need you most?
The battle rages on and you are AWOL. You are unconcerned. Now more than ever, our free and independent American women need to speak out on behalf of their downtrodden Muslim sisters around the world -- and even here in the United States -- and yet... your silence is deafening."*
*From "A Big Ms.-take" Radarsite: January 12, 2008