9:01am

Tue May 24, 2011
The Two-Way

Saudi Woman Defies Ban On Driving While Female

One woman's effort to end the ban on her gender being able to drive in Saudi Arabia is catching attention around the world.

And on Morning Edition today, the editor of Jeddah's Saudi News said that Manal al-Sharif's campaign is gaining some traction in Saudi Arabia.

"More and more women will take up the wheel," Khalid al Moeena told ME guest host Mary Louise Kelly.

It's not only a matter of equality, he notes. Many women want and need to be able to drive, including widows, and want the right to get behind the wheel in cases of emergencies.

Al-Sharif was arrested twice over the weekend, The Arab News reports. Those actions followed her posting online of video showing her out behind the wheel.

There are active campaigns on Facebook and Twitter in support of her efforts, and the Women2Drive movement is trying to organize a June 17 mass action when women will take to the roads. Some supporters are comparing her to American civil rights icon Rosa Parks.

Al-Jazeera English has posted a video report that has clips of Manal driving. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.