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Manal al-Sharif

Author & Columnist
Manal, one of TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world, is a prominent voice advocating for women's rights and empowerment in the Muslim and the Arab world. She is known to be the first Saudi women to specialize in Information Security with a career started back in 2002 with ARAMCO, the largest oil company in the world.

In 2011, Manal started the #Women2Drive campaign, to challenge the ban on women driving in her country. She was arrested and imprisoned for "driving while female". Released on the condition that she never drives again on Saudi lands, never to speak about it or do any interviews, she continued campaigning for #Women2Drive and #IAmMyOwnGuardian to end male guardianship in her country. She started #Faraj, to help domestic helpers leave jail and #IAmLama that resulted in codifying the first anti-domestic violence law in Saudi. For her activism, she won the first Vaclav Havel award for Creative Dissent. She was also lauded by Foreign Policy, NewsWeek, and Vital Voices.

She is a TED speaker and also spoke at Harvard, the United Nations, UNESCO, Google, Oslo Freedom Forum, WIRED, Trust Women, The Arab Institue in Paris, the Center for International and Strategic Studies, Clinton Initiative, Women in the World, Dallas World Affairs Council, and many others.

A blogger and regular contributor to international media, Manal has written for NewsWeek, the NY Times, Alhayat based in London, and a regular columnist in Democracy Post by Washington Post.

Her memoir, Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman Awakening, is an intimate story of her life growing up in one of the most masculine societies in the world.

Speaker for:

Imagine challenging a whole system you grew up in being faceless, nameless and voiceless, close to invisible. You are not being able to do anything, studying, working, opening a bank account, travelling or simply going out, without a verbal or written permission from your assigned legal male guardian, who can be your own son! This is not another Atwood’s dystopia, this is the story of Saudi women in the most masculine state in the world. This is a story of hope, aspiration, and overcoming your own fears to stand up to a Kingdom of men, to intimidation, to oppression, to self-doubt and to win, wherever we may be.

My Speakers, Panellists & Moderat... Sessions

Thursday, August 31

11:20am PDT