It is season for change in the Middle East and Arab world and Saudi women don't want to be left behind. They are now taking their demand for equality online-at Twitter, Facebook, on forums and blogs.
Deborah Amos at Georgia Public Broadcasting reports that recent events have stirred political passions in Saudi Arabia.
“Duraa Ali, a 22-year-old journalism student dressed in a full abaya and face veil, asked at the forum if a woman could start a revolution in Saudi Arabia. Women are the ones with the least rights, she said to applause in the room.
Ali was studying in Bahrain when the protests began there. She was thrilled by the demands of Shiite protesters who challenged the Sunni royal family and disturbed by the violent reaction to those demands.”
At Twitter #saudiwomenrevolution has considerable following and more tweets in support and sometimes against the women's demands are added every day. It represents an important step in bringing out concerns of Saudi women out in the open and is contributing to the lively discussion on democracy and gender equality in the Arab Muslim world.
Here is a snippet of tweets for #saudiwomenrevolution
At Facebook, Saudi Women Revolution page has 591 supporters and growing. Although majority of posts here are in Arabic, there are some English comments and it has attracted support from non-Muslim men and women from various parts of the world. Cartoons depicting Saudi women and their daily struggles are eye opening, some very poignant.
As global support for Saudi women grows, authorities there are certainly uncomfortable with rising political consciousness among the public. James Nixon at Thniq says that,
“A group of intellectuals, human rights activists and lawyers met on February 10th to form Saudi Arabia's first political party, the Umma Islamic Party, demanding an end to the country's absolute monarchy.
All of them were arrested on February 18th, with authorities demanding they renounce their demands in return for their release.”
Tough ahead for Saudi women and women demanding change, but as events in Tunisia and Egypt prove-people power can never be ignored for long.