Manal al-Sharif is worldwide known for her bold decision to face the traditional anti-women approach of Saudi authorities of forbidding women to drive. But it is more than that, although, her stubborness turned her into a symbol of women self-awareness not only in her country, but in the entire Middle East and the world.
In her memoir, Daring to Drive, she tells her story, sharing her experience about growing up as a girl and being the target and victim of men's hate and opression. I was thinking twice before using this word, opression, but this is how the women situation in this country looks like: a slave that should silently follow the rules created by men.
Manal al-Sharif dares not only to drive, but also to challenge those absurdities, some of them not necessarily part of the religious teachings, but recent time inventions. An educated women, with a traditional background and her own history of religious observance, she is carefully observing the changes undergone by the Saudi Arabia while noticing the constant marginalization of women from the public sphere. From discrimination at school and at the market place to physical violence within the family, women are always the target and never properly protected by the law against abuses.
But in a inter-connected world as ours, it is hard to keep the situation without raising protests and inspire online social unrest. Manal did her part, and her achievements is an example for other women in the area to dare too, because cowards have all to lose. Her resilience and decision to go forward is an encouragement for women all over the world, but particularly in women-unfriendly countries like Saudi Arabia.
A recommended read to anyone interested in this part of the world, but also curious about women rights movements in the time of the Internet.
Rating: 4 stars
Disclaimer: Book offered by the publisher in exchange for an honest review