Manal al-Sharif’s path to activism began simply enough: In 2011, the Saudi woman filmed herself driving a car, then uploaded the video to YouTube. Ordinarily such a video might not get much notice, but because it’s not socially acceptable for women to drive in Saudi Arabia, where there is a de facto ban, Sharif’s video went viral.
Sharif describes driving as an act of civil disobedience: “For me, driving — or the right to drive — is not only about moving from A to B; it’s a way to emancipate women,” she says. “It gives them so much liberty. It makes them independent.”
Initially arrested for driving, Sharif was released when her story elicited outrage from around the world. She now lives in Sydney, Australia, with her second husband and son.
Though she is no longer in Saudi Arabia, Sharif remains outspoken about women’s rights: “When I see something wrong, I speak up,” she says of her advocacy of Saudi women. “It should be the norm, not the exception.” Her new memoir is Daring to Drive.
Name: Chloe Age:
21 (22 in April)
Hi! I’m from England but I also lived in Sydney, Australia for 6 years.
I’ve recently graduated uni (English Language and Linguistics) and am
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but dying art.
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