“The Stigma of Being ‘Drivers'”

(p. 6) They were arrested, suspended from jobs, shunned by relatives and denounced by clerics as loose women out to destroy society. Their offense? They did what many in Saudi Arabia considered unthinkable: getting in cars and driving.
Their protest in 1990 against the kingdom’s ban on women driving failed, and the women paid dearly for it, with the stigma of being “drivers” clinging to them for years.
So last month, when King Salman announced that the ban on women driving would be lifted next June, few were happier than the first women to demonstrate for that right — almost three decades ago.
. . .
Many restrictions on women remain, including so-called guardianship laws that give Saudi men power over their female relatives on certain matters. But the original protesters are overjoyed that their daughters and granddaughters will have freer lives than they did, thanks to the automobile.
“That I am driving means that I know where I am going, when I’m coming back and what I’m doing,” said Ms. Alaboudi, the social worker.
“It is not just driving a car,” she said, “it is driving a life.”

For the full story, see:
BEN HUBBARD. “27 Years After Protest, a Victory Lap for Saudi Women.” The New York Times, First Section (Sunday, October 8, 2017): 6.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date OCT. 7, 2017, and has the title “‘Once Shunned as ‘Drivers,’ Saudi Women Who Fought Ban Now Celebrate.”)

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