Manal al-Sharif (Manal Abd Masoud Almnami al-Sharif)
|Born||25 April 1979|
Mecca, Saudi Arabia
|Known for||Defying female driving ban in Saudi Arabia|
|Children||1 son (born c. 2006)|
Manal al-Sharif is a Saudi Arabian activist for women's rights in the kingdom. She helped start a women's right to drive campaign in 2011. A women's rights activist who had previously filmed herself driving, Wajeha al-Huwaider, filmed al-Sharif driving a car as part of the campaign. The video was posted on YouTube and Facebook.
Women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. Al-Sharif was arrested and released on 21 May and then rearrested the next day. On 30 May, al-Sharif was released on bail, on the conditions of returning for questioning if asked, not driving and not talking to the media. The New York Times and Associated Press reported the women's driving campaign as part of the Arab Spring. They reported the length of al-Sharif's detention with the Saudi government's fear of protests.
Following her driving campaign, al-Sharif remained an active critic of the Saudi government. She posted things on Twitter (known as tweeting) about imprisoned female foreign workers, the lack of elections for the Shura Council, and the murder of Lama al-Ghamdi. Her work has been praised by Foreign Policy, Time, and the Oslo Freedom Forum.