Re:Gender works to end gender inequity and discrimination against girls and women by exposing root causes and advancing research-informed action. Working with multiple sectors and disciplines, we are shaping a world that demands fairness across difference.
The Saudi 'study' that finds all women drivers on the road to immorality
Critiques the methodology used by Professor Kamal al-Subhi, the American-educated retired professor in Saudi Arabia who took it upon himself to prepare a scientific study on the effects of women driving on society.
Women driving has been a controversial issue in Saudi Arabia since 1990when 47 women got into 14 cars and drove on to a main street in Riyadh. They were stopped, suspended from work for two years and condemned for years in religious sermons and social circles. The last public assault was when Sheikh Mohammed Al Arefe in 2003 objected to the fact that these women were allowed to go back to teaching because he was worried that they would encourage their students to follow in their footsteps.
It took more than 15 years for another group of women to gather the courage to start a public movement against the ban on female driving. Since 2006, every few months there would be a study, petition, video or campaign but to no avail. This is no surprise, because there are just as many studies, videos, petitions and campaigns calling on the government to maintain the ban.
Professor Kamal al-Subhi has written the most recent of these studies. Subhi is an American-educated retired professor who took it upon himself to prepare a scientific study on the effects of women driving on society. The study is based on unstructured direct interviews methodology, in which he visited two unnamed Arabian Gulf countries and a third unnamed North African country to ask people about the effects of women driving.