100 most powerful Arab women 2012
Sun 04 Mar 2012 11:26 AM
Wajeha Al Huwaider
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Wajeha Al Huwaider

Industry: Culture and Society

Designation: Author and Activist

Country: Saudi Arabia

Prominent Saudi author and activist Wajeha Al Huwaider has long campaigned for women’s rights in her native country. As co-founder of the Association for the Protection and Defense of Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia, her time is dedicated to key causes she holds close to her heart. She has berated the pace of reform in the kingdom and campaigns regularly against its male guardianship laws, the ban on women drivers and the lack of legislation to protect children from under-age marriages. On International Women’s Day in 2008, she ran the risk of reprisals when she posted a video of herself defying the driving ban by driving in Saudi Arabia. The video attracted over 200,000 views and propelled Al Huwaider to fame, providing her with a platform to voice her concerns. She is a divorced mother of two teenage sons, both of whom study in the US, “I send them there because I do not want them to grow up to be typical Saudi men,” she says. She is employed by state-backed energy giant, Saudi Aramco.