Femme History: Manal al-Sharif


Manal al-Sharif

Manal al-Sharif became the inspiration for a women's rights campaign surrounding the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia. In 2011, a YouTube video circulated rapidly around the world featuring her act of protest, driving a car. Her defiance of the ban resulted in her imprisonment for nine days. However, al-Sharif asserts that her act was not a protest, given that driving is well within the scope of women's rights. Through social media she gained international recognition. IN 2012, she was named one of Time Magazine's “100 Most Influential People in the World” her honors also include the first annual Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent presented at the Oslo Freedom Forum.

Al-Sharif champions women's rights and is best known for her campaign called "Women2Drive," launched in 2011. The campaign gained media attention around the world, but al-Sharif maintains that the accomplishments she has achieved would not have been possible without social media.

“Social media has had a pivotal role in my work for women’s rights,” she says. “Without YouTube, Twitter and Facebook we would not have made it this far. In Saudi Arabia, there are no pulpits. There are no places to air your views. So, it’s amazing to have these tools." - Manal al-Sharif

Women's History Month 3.2.15 Manal al-Sharif