Ameerah al-Taweel is a privileged princess from Saudi Arabia; but she is also on the frontlines of fighting for women’s rights in her country.

Her husband, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, is one of the richest men in the world and is the nephew of Saudi King Abdullah.

Ameerah says she’s often asked why women can’t drive in Saudi Arabia, which she believes should be reformed.

“I think it’s a very easy decision. And it is for the government. A lot of people are saying this is a social issue…. Education was a social issue. And a lot of people in Saudi Arabia were against women getting educated. Yet the decision was made.”

She says 57 percent of university graduates are now women.

Being such an open member of the royal family doesn’t always win her points. She says she does get pushback.

“I received some criticisms and I do get some negative feedback. But at the same time, I don’t represent all Saudi women. There are Saudi women who are against such a movement. I represent maybe a sector of young Saudi women.”

Ameerah says conservatives have an amazing lobby within the Kingdom.

“They know how to voice out their opinions. Us women, not yet,” she says. “Yes, we are very educated. We know exactly what we want, but we’re not organized.”

She says conservatives are also savvy at using op-eds and social media to help get their message out. And while more liberal-minded women are taking to these mediums, Ameerah says they have yet to unite to find combined strength.

She is in New York to announce a global project, millions of dollars from her foundation to improve economic and job opportunities and also help resolve conflicting religious views.

She says it’s been very unfortunate to witness the violent acts among Arab youth in response to the anti-Muslim film on YouTube.

“[The film] was offensive. It was wrong. And at the same time, the reaction of violence, killing innocent people who had nothing to do with the film is wrong as well. Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Ameerah says the lack of institutions in the Arab world is working against youths.

“Now they have the chance to express themselves; they have freedom of speech, and at the same time, there isn’t any channel whereby they express their opinions in an appropriate manner – a civil society or NGOs. Even their own new governments are not well structured yet.”

She hopes her initiative can help bridge the gap for the wider Muslim world and specifically for women in her country.

“You have a lot of women starting their own lobbies, and it’s about time that we get together and we voice out our concerns, just like the conservatives do, through democratic means, where we don’t put ourselves in the face of danger.”

Source:cnn