Manal al-Sharif

Manal al-Sharif

Women's Rights Activist & Best-Selling Author

Manal al-Sharif has been listed as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people, as one of Forbes Top 50 Women in Tech and by Newsweek as one of the 10 tech-revolutionaries in the world. She is a prominent voice advocating for women’s rights and empowerment and was one of the first Saudi women to specialize in Information Security, starting her career in 2002 with Saudi Aramco, the largest oil company in the world.

In 2011, al-Sharif co-founded and led the #Women2Drive movement, to challenge the ban on women driving in her home country of Saudi Arabia. She was arrested and imprisoned for “driving while female” and was released on the condition that she never drove again on Saudi lands and never to spoke about the experience or conduct any interviews. Ignoring these conditions Manal continued campaigning for #Women2Drive and #IAmMyOwnGuardian with the aim to end male guardianship in her country and in June of 2018 the Saudi government lifted the ban on women driving. Manal also started #Faraj, a campaign to help domestic helpers leave jail, and #IAmLama which resulted in codifying the first anti-domestic violence law in Saudi. As a result of her tireless activism, she was awarded the first Vaclav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent.

Manal is a TED & Harvard speaker, she has also spoken for the United Nations, UNESCO, the Obama Summit, Google, Yahoo!, Oslo Freedom Forum, WIRED, Trust Women, The Arab Institute in Paris, the Center for International and Strategic Studies in Washington DC, Roosevelt House in NY, the Clinton Global Initiative, Women in the World, Dallas World Affairs Council, and many others.

Her speech at the Oslo Freedom Forum was chosen to published in the book Speeches of Note by Shaun Usher among 75 notable speeches throughout history.

A blogger and regular contributor to international media, Manal has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Alhayat and many other publications. Her memoir, ‘Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening,’ is an intimate story of her life growing up in one of the most masculine societies in the world and an Amazon best seller. It was voted by GoodRead as one of the top ten memoirs of 2017 and was listed as #1 book for the summer reading by Oprah Magazine.

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