Saudi women want Subaru out of the market due to driving ban

Article by Christian A., on June 25, 2011

There is a growing campaign in Saudi Arabia that calls for the country to lift its ban on women drivers. This group, Saudi Women for Driving, is now putting the pressure on Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.'s Subaru cars unit to withdraw from this market until the kingdom gives in.

Recently, the group received the support of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who said that she is “moved” by the group’s act of defiance.

The group told Fuji Heavy that their campaign will “shine a bright light on the gender apartheid” in Saudi Arabia. They also said that it’s now Fuji Heavy’s chance to “live up to its brand” and make a big difference for almost 13 million Saudi women.

Subaru is being named first since it is “progressive" and has been targeting women for its products, according to the group’s petition as seen on Change.org, a U.S.-based website for social activism.

Benjamin Joffe-Walt, Change.org's human-rights editor, said that it’s possible that this campaign will go after General Motors Co.'s Cadillac brand and Hyundai Motor Co. next.

These are the two brands that were used by Manal al-Sharif, a Saudi woman who got arrested in May for driving. Fuji Heavy spokesman Kenta Matsumoto said that its Subaru dealers in Saudi Arabia have yet to receive any information about this campaign.

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