Saudi women in cars

The relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia is a tenuous one. For better or worse, it usually involves the American government siding with the Saudi royal family – arguably at the expense of the people over which the latter rule. But this time, the roles have changed, with U.S. lawmakers taking up a cause championed by social activists on the street (quite literally) against the nation's historically conservative government and social mores.

The issue, as you may have been following recently, comes down to the right of Saudi women to drive in the Arabian kingdom. The fairer sex is banned from driving under the Wahhabi Islamic laws instituted in Saudi Arabia, prompting some women to call for change, risking imprisonment (or worse) for defying the edicts of the ruling family.

According to Bloomberg, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been gently pushing the Saudi government to lift the ban, and has now been joined by a group of fourteen female American senators in supporting Saudi Women for Driving and their cause. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) is leading the charge from her position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, calling for women's rights to be honored in a U.S. ally that has proven nothing if not resistant to change.