Skip to main content

Hillary Clinton and 25,000 others support letting women drive in Saudi Arabia

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has cancelled the flogging of Shayma Jastaniah, who had been sentenced to 10 lashes with a whip after she was found guilty of driving a family member to the hospital. It is illegal right now for women to drive in Saudi. Now public support to give women the right to drive in Saudi Arabia is growing.


Activists are now demanding through petitions on that the king end the Saudi ban on women drivers. So far more than 25,000 people have signed the petition worldwide.

News of the king’s decision came a day after Saudi Women for Driving, a coalition of Saudi women activists who can be reached via email at [email protected], created a petition on asking him to cancel Jastaniah's punishment. The king announced just days ago that Saudi women had been granted the right to vote and run in municipal elections in 2015. Saudi is the only country worldwide that forbids women from driving.

Support for the changes is building fast, even within the royal family. Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel, the wife of King Abdullah’s nephew, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, said on Twitter that the cancellation of the flogging sentence was “symbolic, both inside and outside. ... No matter how many great things we do [we will] always be judged as a country that suppresses women because we’re the only country in the world where women can’t drive.”

The princess has long been an active supporter of women’s right to drive in Saudi Arabia.

The petition to overturn Jastaniah's punishment is the most recent in a series of campaigns fighting for women’s right to drive in Saudi Arabia. Earlier this week, Saudi Women for Driving launched a petition directly asking King Abdullah to grant Saudi women the right to drive, which has already garnered almost 25,000 signatures from signers in 150 countries.

“Through a series of online petitions ( and on-the-ground protests, Saudi Women for Driving has built an international campaign that’s won the support of thousands, including public statements from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (pictured) and European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton,” said Director of Organizing Shelby Knox.

“Using, the Saudi Women for Driving coalition has exercised its voice and encouraged activists everywhere to stand up in solidarity. is about empowering anyone, anywhere to demand action in their communities, and it has been incredible to watch the campaign gain so much support and momentum throughout the world.”

Reach TN's Hawke Fracassa at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @HawkeFracassa.

Image source: Wikipedia