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Princess Argues For Broadening Women's Rights In Saudi Arabia

A Saudi woman fastens her seat belt before driving in Jeddah, western Saudi Arabia. (Michael Bou-Nacklie)

Saudi princess Ameerah Al-Taweel is arguing that all Saudi women deserve broader rights in the work force and the basic right to drive a car, one privilege denied Saudi women. Speaking on Morning Edition, Al-Taweel said she believes driving will help establish women's equality.

Al-Taweel would also like to see more women working as lawyers and teachers - a subject more important to her than driving. When asked by NPR's Mary Louise Kelly whether Saudi King Abdullah agreed with her, she noted the ruler has promoted women's opportunities in the past.

One new field of women's work is in Saudi lingerie shops, which previously were run only by men, notes Emirates News.

But Al-Taweel kept coming back to the issue of driving. She noted she wasn't trying to remove the rights of others - only to broaden the rights of Saudi women.

Mark wrote last month about Saudi feminist Manal al-Sharif, who helped organize a day protest on June 17 when many Saudi women got behind the wheel to break the law and drive. NPR intern Ahmed Al Omran pens his observations on the event here, and he links to this pessimistic post by Saudi blogger Eman al-Nafjan.

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