THE SECRET REVOLUTION – WOMEN IN SAUDI ARABIA

In deeply conservative Saudi Arabia, women are calling for change. Despite all kinds of resistance, some are achieving professional and political success. This film portrays pioneers who want to reshape society: an editor-in-chief, a lawyer and a politician.

In Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism, the most austere form of Islam, permeates all areas of public life. In particular, it dominates the everyday life of women, who still need a male guardian even as adults. It is all the more astonishing that a number of women have recently achieved professional and even political success – becoming pioneers for an entire generation. The film presents sometimes intimate portraits of some of these pioneers who are changing their society for the future. They include women like Somayya Jabarti, the Kingdom's first female editor-in-chief, Sofana Dahlan, a cultural entrepreneur and one of the first women to be recognised as a lawyer, and Rasha Hefzi, one of only 20 women in the country to be elected a member of the local parliament. But the film also introduces women like bakery owner Oum Saif, who not only works backstage but also sells her bread, fully veiled, behind the counter, something that would have been inconceivable just a few years ago.

Genre Current Affairs / Society
Length 45’ HD
Film by Carmen Butta, Gabriele Riedle
Production HANFGARN & UFER Filmproduktion for ZDF/ARTE
Original Title Die heimliche Revolution
Year 2016

WEB Dreidreißig 5 WEB Dreidreißig 9
WEB Dreidreißig WEB Dreidreißig 8

In deeply conservative Saudi Arabia, women are calling for change. A portrait of pioneers who want to reshape society: an editor-in-chief, a lawyer and a politician. 
In Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism, the most austere form of Islam, permeates all areas of public life. In particular, it dominates the everyday life of women, who still need a male guardian even as adults. It is all the more astonishing that a number of women have recently achieved professional and even political success – becoming pioneers for an entire generation. The film presents sometimes intimate portraits of some of these pioneers who are changing their society for the future. They include women like Somayya Jabarti, the Kingdom’s first female editor-in-chief, Sofana Dahlan, a cultural entrepreneur and one of the first women to be recognised as a lawyer, and Rasha Hefzi, one of only 20 women in the country to be elected a member of the local parliament. But the film also introduces women like bakery owner Oum Saif, who not only works backstage but also sells her bread, fully veiled, behind the counter, something that would have been inconceivable just a few years ago.

Current Affairs / Society
Length 45’ HD
Film by Carmen Butta, Gabriele Riedle
Production HANFGARN & UFER Filmproduktion for ZDF/ARTE
Original title Die heimliche Revolution – Frauen in Saudi Arabien / Une révolution silencieuse – Les femmes en Arabie saoudite, 2016