Saudi women fighting for the right to drive are cheering a small victory today. After nearly a month of pleading Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally issued a public statement of support for their efforts.
“What these women are doing is brave, and what they are seeking is right,” Clinton said. “I’m moved by it [the campaign] and I support them.”
Clinton’s support came nearly two hours after the Saudi Women for Driving issued a public letter via Change.org in opposition to her “quiet diplomacy” tactic, announced at a State Department briefing on Monday.
“For the United States’ top diplomat to make no public statement about such developments sends exactly the wrong message to the Saudi government and, more importantly, to the women of Saudi Arabia,” the women wrote in the letter sent to 17 of Clinton’s top aides and circulated throughout the media.
Clinton responded by assuring the women that she has raised the driving ban with “the highest level of the Saudi government.”
“We have made clear our views that women everywhere, including women in the kingdom, have the right to make decisions about their lives, and their futures,” she said. “They have the right to contribute to society, and provide for their children and their families… Mobility, such as provided by the freedom to drive, provides access to economic opportunity, including jobs.”