By Boot Girl Myra
When was the last time a newspaper headline stopped you in your tracks? It did for me yesterday, and 36 hours later I’m still thinking about it. One of the headlines in The New York Times, for Monday, September 26, 2011 read:
Candidacy is Permitted
Measured Progress is Hailed, but Driving Ban Still Stands
My heart leapt for joy, thankful these women were finally granted the freedom to have an opinion on national leadership issues. It’s 2011, afterall. But then my heart sank as I read the final caption, “Measured Progress is Hailed, but Driving Ban Still Stands”. Soooooo, women can vote but can’t drive to get there? Nice. Or perhaps, how convenient? It’s as if they are told “we will let you vote but you can’t drive there”.
These things are such simple aspects of our freedom. They go unnoticed on a daily basis for most of us. The reality is there are very progressive countries in this world, many of whom are our allies, who don’t allow their citizens certain basic freedoms.
Think about the women who influenced your life. Can you imagine them not having the right to drive you to your soccer games, doctor’s visits, the birthday party across town, vacations, fast-food drive-thru, and drive-in movie theatres? If you live in a town like mine, where there are virtually no sidewalks, getting from A-B is impossible for my children (all girls) without driving. I’m wondering if that’s why the emphasis in many countries to have a boy is so critical. Not only is he the heir to the family estate, but he is the driver, the only one they can depend on to get around. My husband knows all about driving women around in cars, he is the lone man in a house full of girls. Even the dog is a girl – and HE picked her! Maybe that is why this headline struck a particularly raw nerve for me. I see how adversely it would affect our family dynamics if it were illegal for 4 out of 5 of us to drive.
This morning when I left the house, I rolled the windows down and felt the breeze of freedom wafting through my van affectionately known as the “Jack Wagon”. It is the vehicle in which 2 of my daughters learned to drive. It has it’s fair share of dents and dings from years and years of shuttling children to points as far as Florida and Arizona. I was in complete and utter gratitude for my “inalienable right” to drive. Which gives me cause to hope that the leading measure our Saudi sisters should get to decide, the first time they vote, will be FOR the freedom to drive.