Sunday, March 6, 2011

My “Saudi Women’s Honor Roll”

With International Women’s Day (IWD) Centenary hours away, I tip my hat to 18 vocal and active Saudi women who are overtly campaigning for change and reform in their country. They joined 101 Saudi academics, activists, liberal reformers and businessmen in signing last week’s “Declaration for National Reform.”

The declaration, drafted as an open letter to the Saudi monarch, sets out a comprehensive reform program and basically calls for a constitutional monarchy. It complains of discrimination, corruption and nepotism in the country, demands greater transparency over state spending and in government decisions. It also holds out for elections to decision-making bodies on the local, provincial, and national levels, women’s rights, freedom of speech and assembly and human rights. It also calls for a review of the Basic Law to include rights protections, true separation of powers, and the release of political prisoners, among other demands.

The 18 Saudi women are on my “Saudi Women’s Honor Roll” for using their full name to sign the declaration. They are:
  1.  Dr. Faeka Mohamed Badr (university professor
  2. Fawziya Al Ouyouni, (human rights activist)
  3. Wajiha Al Huwayder (writer)
  4. Amal Zahed Tarbaweyya (writer)
  5. Dr. Badriya Al Bishr (writer)
  6. Noura Abdallah Al Sharekh (educator)
  7. Dr. Suad Bint Mohamed Hassan Jaber (academic)
  8. Badi’a Kashghari (litterateur and activist)
  9. Najiba Nehme Al Sada (activist)
  10. Asma Mohamed Al Aboudi (writer)
  11. Sabah Abdelkareem Al Mustafa (human rights activist)
  12. Nassima Dawood Al Sada (human rights and social activist)
  13. Fawziya Hussein Al Yusuf (employee)
  14. Hala Mubarak Al Dosari (health services researcher)
  15. May Saleh Al Soyyan (national sector employee)
  16. Amal Abdallah Al Kazem
  17. Zeinab Ahmad Hafni (litterateur and writer)
  18. Basima Ahmad Al Mustafa (social activist)
Go to Saudiwoman's Weblog and see why Eman Al Nafjan – a “genetically wahabi” Saudi “mother of three” and “a postgraduate student at a university in Riyadh” – is the 19th addition to my “Saudi Women’s Honor Roll.”

Addendum: Minutes after this post was published, I got the following message on Twitter from Eman Al Nafjan (@Saudiwoman): "Thanks! & I signed the pettition too but took my time doing it so my name is probably towards the bottom,can't check cuz blocked."
Thank you Eman.