ROCHESTER, Minn. (WCCO) — Three Rochester women say they were fired as drivers for members of the Saudi Royal Family visiting the Mayo Clinic, because of Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving.
The women say the companies that hired them told them the Saudi Arabian visitors did not want women drivers.
Gretchen Cooper was one of the drivers. She said they are using the firing as a way to raise awareness of the situation in Saudi Arabia.
“As an American woman, I take my freedom and rights for granted. I never had considered that I could be wrongly terminated merely for being a woman,” she said.
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that enforces a legal ban on woman driving.
The non-profit Gender Justice is representing the three women. Co-founder Lisa Stratton said they are committed to enforcing the Rochester women’s right to gender equality in the workplace under state and federal laws.
Press Conference With Gender Justice On Women Being Fired
But, according to Stratton, they also believe in working across borders, as partners with other advocates fighting for gender equality.
Gender Justice is holding a “Drive-In” to support Saudi Arabian women’s rights this Friday. During the event, they will hand out green ribbons for participant’s cars as well as information about the Rochester women’s connection to the current efforts to end the driving ban in Saudi Arabia.