Manal Faisal al-Sharif, banned candidate in Jeddah

December 22nd, 2015 by
I am really so thrilled with my friend Manal, who is on the front lines of fighting for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia.  Here’s her words from a Saudi paper right before the recent elections.

Manal Faisal al-Sharif, banned candidate in Jeddah

I think I was banned because people complained that I was using the media to promote my campaign. But I wasn’t. I simply tried to give women information about how to vote, the process. I tried to raise awareness about the vote. I wanted to encourage them to go to the centres with the correct papers. I guess someone got angry and made formal complaints.

Manal Faisal al-Sharif

Manal Faisal al-Sharif
In any case, I am still very excited about the elections. I’m proud of my colleagues, neighbours and friends. I’m on WhatsApp groups with women and there is a real sense of solidarity. Some are like training centres for how to go and vote and participate. It’s a big step towards equality.

Tomorrow, I will vote for a female candidate because I believe she has a good programme. She will help the area. But my biggest fear is that no women at all will be elected.

Saudi Arabia does have very conservative segments of society, but we have people in the middle. And I think those that encourage women are in the majority.

Women can effect change, and I think by having women in these positions will build bridges with the people who hold ultra-conservative views.

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