A campaign ‘Women2Drive’ was launched to urge Saudi women to drive their cars on 17th June 2011. The Facebook campaign has played an instrumental role in encouraging Saudi women to drive, just like their male counterparts. There is no law preventing a woman from driving in Saudi Arabia, but they can’t get a driver’s licence there. One woman, Manal Al-Sharif was arrested and subsequently released after driving in Alkhobar, but even this didn’t deter women from driving.
The campaign reinforced that it wasn’t a civil protest, just a plea made to women who want to drive to start driving. The campaign also advised that international driving licences should be carried, and for women to be accompanied by a male. Responses on Twitter flooded in with messages of support and encouragement. No official figures of women driving that day are available, but the women who did had little or no repercussions from the police authorities. A statement made that day said there were no arrests. Many of the women reported on Facebook and Twitter that they were largely ignored when driving, although some reported being apprehended by police.
One woman in Jeddah was stopped and escorted to her home by soldiers. One American photographer tweeted that her female companion, who was driving, was stopped by police no less than six times. The success of this campaign relied largely on the power of social media, which also backs up that social media can also play a large role in any SEO campaign. Search engine optimisation techniques are vital for business development, whether in Saudi Arabia or Liverpool.