As election centers across Saudi Arabia opened on April 23 for voters to register for forthcoming municipal elections, groups of women turned up asking to take part.
As expected, they were turned away -- women will not be able to stand or vote in September's municipal elections -- but just by showing up they had made their point.
This was one of the first public acts of the newly-formed "Saudi Women Revolution," a movement set up to campaign for the end of Saudi Arabia's discriminatory laws.
Their chief aim is ending male guardianship, which means Saudi women often need permission from their husband, father, brother or even son to work, travel, study, marry, or access health care, according to Human Rights Watch.
They also want to be allowed to drive, which is forbidden for women in the Kingdom.The Saudi Women Revolution was started as a Facebook page and a discussion topic, or hash tag, on Twitter in February, by Nuha Al Sulaiman.
as you would expect from a piece by CNN, the whole article has a very western framing. but the one thing that i really do appreciate is that the narrative is not the usual "oppressed eastern women need saving", but rather "strong eastern women are taking up the fight".
then there is the whole social media thing, again showing itself as a powerful tool for connecting and organising. not only that, but providing access to information & ideas from outside of the country. now i know that saudi has very strong controls on the internet, but they obviously haven't yet taken the step of blocking social networking sites. that may indeed be a possibility.
and finally, i would also have to say that the arab spring has inspired people around the world, and i suspect this group have also been motivated by what they have seen happening in other countries. i wish them all the best in their endeavours, and hope to hear some good news coming out of saudi in the near future.