More than half of the university graduates in Saudi Arabia are women. In fact, the world’s largest women only university opened just last month in Riyadh. The country is equipping its women to become professionally qualified and to stay on par, education wise, with their male counterparts. Given this, it is ironic that in the same country women cannot even drive themselves to college or work.
Social Networking to the Rescue
But the Saudi women are not taking things lying down anymore, thanks to the power of social networking. A very different protest has been undertaken by these women through the Women2Drive campaign that is going strong on Twitter and Facebook. Some big names, like Hillary Clinton, have voiced wholehearted support for the campaign. But what is surprising is that the campaign has been backed by some Saudi royals too. Clearly, social networking has lent these women a voice that simply cannot be ignored.
A Tool that is Growing in Popularity
A recent report from the Dubai School of Government shows that social networking sites are steadily drawing more followers among Saudi women. The number of women using Facebook has risen over the first three months of this year. While the actual percentage change may still be small, it is still clear evidence of the growing popularity of these tools as a means of expression for these women. What makes these tools so effective is that these women get an instant global audience to air their views when they use social media as a protest platform. This is just an example of what some internet marketing companies and other social media observers have been saying for long – there is no match for social media when it comes to driving viral initiatives.