Following are excerpts of a statement by Saudi women's rights activist Wajiha Al-Huweidar, which was posted on www.youtube.com on March 8, 2008:
Wajiha Al-Huweidar is shown driving a car in Saudi Arabia.
Wajiha Al-Huweidar: Today is International Women's Day. First, I'd like to congratulate all the women who have achieved their rights. I hope that all the women still fighting for their rights will achieve them soon. Obviously, I am currently driving my car in a remote area. Only in remote areas in Saudi Arabia are women allowed to drive, I'm sad to say. In cities – where they really need to drive – it is still forbidden. On the occasion of International Women's Day, let me express my hope that His Highness Prince Nayyef bin Abd Al-'Aziz, the minister of the interior, will soon allow us to drive. All the women who signed the petition we sent him today have driving licenses, and we are capable of driving in our cities. In addition, many of us are willing to help the country instruct women, so that they can get their driving licenses. As all the officials keep saying, allowing women to drive is not a political or religious issue, but a social one. We know that many women in our society are capable of driving, and many families allow their women to drive. Therefore, if permission is granted for women to drive, I believe this will be the easiest solution, and there will be an opportunity to change the notion that we are not ready to drive. That's all I have to say, and I hope that by the International Women's Day next year, this restriction will have been lifted.