Women in Saudi Arabia are banned from driving a car. Think that has nothing to do with us in Minnesota? Think again! Gretchen Cooper knows it does – Gretchen and two other Rochester women were hired by Minnesota companies to work as drivers for Saudi visitors to the Mayo Clinic. But all three women were FIRED after one day on the job. Why? Because they are women.
The local company told them they didn’t want to fire them – it was the Saudis who didn’t want women drivers.
But that's illegal in Minnesota, you say? You're right -- and Gender Justice is helping Gretchen do something about it.
You can help too! You can support Gretchen and the women in Saudi Arabia, by coming to the DRIVE-IN.
Get a green ribbon for your car antenna, have your picture taken driving your car, or take a photo in the "cut-out" car (great for kids!). DRIVE-IN photos will be forwarded to the Saudi Embassy and the White House, to show that Minnesotans support women’s equality.
Special guests at the DRIVE-IN will include Gretchen Cooper and other Rochester women who were fired from their jobs because the Saudi visitors “did not want women drivers.” Come meet these Minnesota “women drivers” and show your support for women around the globe who are bravely challenging gender barriers.
The Minnesota DRIVE-IN is part of a series of coordinated events marking June 17th, 2011 – the day Saudi women activists designated as the kickoff for their "Women2Drive" campaign to call global attention to the long-standing struggle of women in Saudi Arabia for full equality, including the right to drive. (News reports say five more women have since been detained for driving -- in an empty parking lot.)
Event sponsor Gender Justice is a new nonprofit organization based in the Upper Midwest, which seeks to eliminate gender inequality through litigation, public policy advocacy, and education and training programs.