News, Politics

Saudi Woman Protests Ban On Women Driving

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Manal al-sharifA woman in Saudi Arabia was arrested last Saturday because she put a video on YouTube video of herself driving a car.

She was eventually released.

Manal al-Sharif was protesting the rule in her country that only men can drive. She was filmed by another woman writer who supports women’s rights.

In Saudi Arabia it isn’t clear whether it’s illegal for a woman to drive, or simply a traditional or religious custom. But Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world to ban women drivers. Many people in the country would like to see women driving but it must be approved by the King first.

Because there are strict rules that prohibit men and women from being around each other in public, women cannot take public transport like buses. So they must rely on male relative or chauffeurs to drive them anywhere they need to go.

Many international groups asked for al-Sharif’s release and Facebook pages were set up to receive support and comments from around the world. Thousands of people have gone on the Facebook pages in support of al-Sharif.

According to a Saudi Arabian daily newspaper, another woman who was caught driving with her mother and her aunt was arrested at a supermarket in another part of the country. But she was released a few hours later.

In 1990, dozens of women in Riyadh drove their cars to protest the ban. They were imprisoned for one day, had their passports taken away and some of them lost their jobs, according to Wikipedia. Another “mass drive” has been planned for June 17.

View the YouTube video here.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Why do you think women aren’t allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia?  How do you feel about this rule?

Reading Prompt
While many people have been protesting the ban on women drivers, it is up to the King to decide whether the ban will be changed.
Do you think that the global attention that this issue has received through Facebook, YouTube and the news will change the King’s mind?  Why or why not?

Primary
Use stated and implied information and ideas in texts to make simple inferences and reasonable predictions about them (OME, Reading: 1.5

Junior
Use stated and implied ideas in texts to make inferences and construct meaning (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Intermediate
Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Grammar Feature: Contractions
A contraction is when two words are shortened and joined together.  Often several letters are taken out and replaced with an apostrophe.
An example of a sentence in the article that includes two contractions is: “In Saudi Arabia it isn’t clear whether it’s illegal for a woman to drive, or simply a traditional or religious custom.”
Write the contraction for each pair of words below:
They are    _____________
He will ___________
Would not ___________
He is ________
Could not ____________