Natalia Menhall

Partner, Consultant at Beyond - Reform & Development
Natalia Humans of Freedom Picture

One of the highlights of my career is a project I worked on in Saudi Arabia; it was about voter education and it came at a very historical time in Saudi. It was the first time women were granted the right to vote in local elections. Our role was to build the capacity of women who could raise awareness on the importance of elections and influence voters’ choices for good representation. A lot of women we met had different beliefs and had a different approach to challenges they faced. It was around the same time as the famous article about Saudi women’s right to drive, and I remember asking one participant “what about the right to drive?” And she said “You know what? For us the basic rights are political, economic and social. Once we get there it would automatically mean that we could drive, we could vote, we could do everything we wanted.” The experience showed me how political the struggle was. I like to feel that the campaign we were part of, had some role in how things are changing... One thing it did for sure is it showed me that we can choose to be part of a bigger change, actively, or decide to stay on the sidelines.