How the Olympics Helped Women Win the Right to Ride Bicycles in Saudi Arabia

2012 was the first time in history that women from Saudi Arabia were allowed to compete in the Olympics. Sports are banned in the country for women, and in 2012, that included riding bicycles.

Many things are illegal for women in the sharia controlled country, as they are considered minors, who require a male guardian. Women can be arrested for crimes such as driving a car, adultery, pregnant & unmarried, blasphemy, entering a cemetery, not covering hair, shoulders and arms, entering public without a male relative, attending a soccer match, standing in the same line as a man.

It was already a huge deal that Saudi Arabian women were in the Olympics at all. When a woman came out on a bicycle, leading the Saudi’, during the opening ceremonies, it was complete scandal. With it, brought awareness to the world of the laws.

Haifaa al-Mansour, the 1st female director in Saudi Arabia, created a movie called Wadjda. It is the story of a little girl, who dreams of owning a bicycle. She discovers her dream is illegal, because she is half the value of a man.

Within a year of the London Olympics, the bicycle law had changed.

Saudi Arabian women are now allowed to ride bicycles.

In approved areas.

Under male supervision.

While wearing a niqab.

I wonder if we let a Saudi Arabian woman drive a car at the next Olympics, it could help women there gain the right to drive also?

-Paul Revere














Das Mädchen Wadjda

Das Mädchen Wadjda


Women in Saudi Arabia can now ride bicycles in public, but officials are saying “only for entertainment.”

Saudi Arabia allows women to ride bikes, sort of

Days after Saudi Arabia announced it would try two women arrested for defying a driving ban on women at a terror court in Riyadh, a Cairo-based human rights group condemned the move, calling it unjust and excessive.

Saudi terrorism court ‘to try women drivers’


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