Manal al-Sharif advocates for women’s right to drive, male guardianship annulment, and family protection in Saudi Arabia.

Why you should listen

In May 2011, Manal al-Sharif filmed herself driving a car in Saudi Arabia, where women are prohibited from driving. She posted the video on YouTube, called on women to participate in a Women2Drive campaign on June 17 of that year, and attracted 12,000 fans to a Facebook page she’d collaborated on called Teach Me How to Drive So I Can Protect Myself. During a second turn at the wheel, she was arrested. Nine days -- and a groundswell of protest -- later she was released from jail.
Al-Sharif, an information technology consultant, remains active in the women right's movement. She has broadened her campaign to focus on guardianship annulment and family protection as well as driving rights, and has founded several groups throughout Saudi Arabia with the title "My rights, my dignity."

What others say

“Manal al-Sharif is following in a long tradition of women activists around the world who have put themselves on the line to expose and challenge discriminatory laws and policies.” — Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International News

Manal al-Sharif’s TED talk

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Driving destiny: Manal Al-Sharif at TEDGlobal 2013

June 11, 2013

Two years ago, as she put her 5-year-old son Aboody to bed, Manal Al-Sharif faced an unexpected question from him: “Mommy, are we bad people?” Earlier in the day, she had noticed bruises on his face. He didn’t want to tell her why. Now, in the evening, he confessed that boys at school had hit him […]

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