In Saudi Arabia women are prohibited from driving, the only country in the world where this is the case. In a nation where women make up "more than half of this country’s university students. Graduating in record numbers, they are looking for jobs and they want to drive themselves to work, to the shopping mall, to the grocery store and to their children’s schools." Saudi women are wanting that freedom to go where they want to go and June 17th or “I will drive my car myself" was a testament to that desire. Starting on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, it was a day of protest, another thing that is not allowed in the nation.
It is not the act of driving that is so controversial it is the significance of the act and the implications of men and women mixing that makes this act a "litmus test in the government’s commitment to maintaining a Saudi life-style distinct from Western societies." In 1990, more than 40 Saudi women drove around Riyadh for an hour to protest not being allowed to drive, and were punished by being banned from international travel and suspended from their jobs and called "harlots." This act of rebellion sparked a fatwa, or religious ruling, that said women should not drive. And recently Manal Al Sharif was arrested after a video of her driving was release on Youtube. Her arrest may have limited the numbers of women driving on June 17th, as only a few dozen responded to the call while over 15,000 supporters were noted on Facebook. Yet, this will most likely not be the end of the efforts.
To add to the protest a feminist group in Ukraine called Femen drove around the Saudi embassy topless as an act of solidarity on June 17th.
To learn more about Saudi Women protesting by driving:http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/saudi-arabia/110615/saudi-womens-rights-driving-rights
To learn more about Femen's topless protest:http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2011/06/topless-feminists-back-driving-rights-for-saudi-women/1