As a Saudi academic, I am well aware of the liminal politics of representation that produce “Saudi women” and “activism” as categories. In this overview I rely on direct experiences with collaborative feminist work in Saudi Arabia and research on feminism and women’s groups in Arabic and English.

Numerous independent formations work for women’s equality in public and private life through writing, organizing, lobbying, and/or protesting. Such groups take different forms and have varying perspectives on how they define and pursue social change agendas. They face diverse challenges shaped by intersecting hegemonic systems (familial, security, legal, transnational governance, and global capitalism). The general landscape for independent activism is extremely restricted and regulated. Most activism works unofficially or virtually using digital media and forums.

Politics. Saudi independent women’s groups can be categorized into four broad political orientations based...

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