Manal al-Sharif is a Saudi Arabian women's rights activist who helped start a women's right to drive campaign in 2011. She is a leader of Women2Drive, CEO, and Founder of Women2Hack Academy, and is one of the most eminent voices of the Women’s Rights Movement in the Middle East. At the center of major policy, and political and societal debate involving women’s rights over the last several years, al-Sharif offers an enlightening look at the current state of women in Saudi society, told through her stories of fearless attempts to break through taboos. Al-Sharif's efforts ultimately paid off in September 2017 when the Saudi government began allowing women to drive. However, she still does not consider her work done.
Al-Sharif was hosted and interviewed by media fronts such as CNN, BBC and France24 for her bold views and strong stands. Al-Sharif was awarded the Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent at the Oslo Freedom Forum, TIME magazine named her one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World”, and the United Nations Human Rights hailed her as “A Driving Force for Change”. She uses her leadership and social media experience coupled with her expertise in IT (she was the first female information security consultant in Saudi Arabia), to ignite social reform.
She speaks to inspire, empower and drive change and her TED talk attracted over 1.5 million views. Her bestselling book "Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening" was ranked as one of the best memoirs of 2017 by Goodreads's Readers Choice Award. It was also listed as the #1 book for the summer by Oprah Magazine.
In January 2019, al-Sharif closed her Twitter account, saying that Saudi authorities had found ways to use the platform that were too authoritarian for her to feel comfortable remaining on Twitter.
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