The speech made by Manal- Al Sharif called “A Saudi woman who dared to drive” is presented in a TED conference (Technology, Environment, and Design) which is a global set of conferences. They offer live streaming of the talks and address a wide range of topics within the research and practice of science and culture. The speech was filmed sometime within June 2013.
Manal- Al Sharif is a woman from Saudi Arabia who advocates for women’s right to drive, male guardianship annulment, and family protection in Saudi Arabia, and in this speech she tells the story of her campaign and how big the discrimination is for women who want to drive in Saudi Arabia and the campaigns that she created has started a change for women. In the beginning of her speech, she starts out by giving the audience a rhetorical question that she later on hopes that she can answer throughout her speech.
The question is which battle is the hardest, the battle against oppressive governments or oppressive societies?
The speaker starts off by establishing credibility after she asked the rhetorical question. Examples of the way the speaker tries to establish credibility is when that the speaker starts to say “I am a Saudi women that was put to jail for driving a car, in a country where it is not acceptable for women to do so” By telling the audience this, her credibility scale grows higher because the whole speech is about women who drive cars in Saudi Arabia and it’s more likely that she has more credibility than if a man from America were to be talking about this situation.
She continues the speech by speaking about her family and personal experiences to make people comprehend the significance of how bad the perception of women driving cars really is. Already one of these examples is of her son and she brings it up in the beginning, that he asks if they were bad people and the reason for him asking this question is because of kids at his school bullying him because they thought that Aboody (Her son) and her should be put to jail because they knew she drove a car. Not only but even that her own brother was detained twice in jail just by giving her, his car keys.
An example like these makes a speech more interesting, why I say that is because her bad experiences can be used in something good. Like for example this speech, where she is trying to make the people see the situation through her eyes and make a change and through her bad situations she can make people see things in the speaker’s perspective, how serious it really is and make a change along the way. Later on she continues making a connection with the audience by presenting facts about her campaign and what the purpose of the campaign was.
She tells the audience that the campaign was made to encourage women to get behind the wheel and drive the day of 17 July. When that day then did come, streets were packed with police cars and religious police cars. But some hundred Saudi women broke the ban and drove that day and none were arrested, she then claims that they broke the taboo. She brings out her own credentials and what she accomplished. She brings hope that every woman can do the same, you just have to want it bad enough to bring yourself up to make a change.
The speaker later on posits the claim by mentioning facts such as “There is no actual law that prevents women from driving, it was just a custom and tradition that are enshrined in deep religious fatwas (learned interpretation that a qualified jurist or mufti can give on issues pertaining to the Islamic law)” with this statement she displays the audience how the situation really is, giving them real fact and at the same time making them understand it is society who has stripped women of their right and that it’s the way people perceive of women driving and that it is no real law against it.
She brings out more facts and one of those is why women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive. The reason was that there was a study that was presented to the Shura-council (its consulate of consults appointed by the king of Saudi Arabia) from a local university professor that claimed the study was based on results from UNESCO (United Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) this study said that the percentage of rape, adultery and prostitution is higher in countries where women do drive than in countries where they don’t.
This argument is a very remarkable one, just for the reason that she is giving factual information of why it’s so frowned upon for women to drive but at the same time displaying how absolutely absurd the study that has been presented to the Shura-council really is. When making this statement look stupid she is making her own statement and purpose in the speech more significant and superior. As written earlier she shows that its society that has the wrong image of women because of the way that these ultraconservative customs and traditions have made it unacceptable for women to drive or have any other rights at all.
Throughout her whole speech she is very focused on her ethical appeal, why she does that is because with the speeches purpose she makes a connection with the audience that involves trust. You could create a speech that evokes a specific emotion or you could construct a lot of logical arguments and it would still make people pay attention but the way that she constructed her speech was to make people see her as one of them, one of those who have had gone through struggle and one who has actually been oppressed because mostly you listen more to somebody who been through it then somebody who has only read about it.
The tone was just very informative and motivational, because it was fitting to what the purpose of the speech was, it was supposed to be motivational neither sad nor happy. The speaker did not really use imagery or diction, she addressed her purpose very simple by mostly just using her body language and with that you could see that she was giving off a relaxed feeling but not too relaxed to make it all seem that she was not serious. The speech was about showing the truth of how it really is and there are women that really want to make a change to gain more rights as human beings.