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Saudi Women Get Behind The Wheel

Saudi Women Get Behind The Wheel


This International Women’s Day we’re celebrating women finally getting behind the wheel in Saudi Arabia.

The ban on women driving made Saudi the only country in the world where women were banned from driving, years of campaigning and even imprisonment for some female activists has led to this change in the law.

On 24 June 2018, Saudi women will finally be able to get behind the wheel and drive themselves; Manal Al-Sharif, one of the organisers of the Women2Drive campaign, who was previously imprisoned for driving commented, “Saudi Arabia will never be the same again.”; whilst delighted fellow campaigner Sahar Nassif added, “I’m very, very excited! I’m going to buy my dream car, a convertible Mustang and it’s going to be black and yellow”!

There’s still a long way to go before Saudi women have equality with men, but for now, let’s celebrate them taking to the roads, with no need for male permission to take driving lessons and the ability to drive wherever they like.

Within just one day of the announcement an Arabic twitter hashtag, asking women what car they wanted to drive received more than 22,000 responses and when Saudi Arabia’s first women’s driving school opened its online registration, they had more than 165,000 applicants in 3 days.

Saudi women are looking forward to choosing and buying their first car, a rite of passage which has long been considered a coming of age for young men in the country.

Volkswagen advert to Saudi women

The only people lamenting this are possibly the estimate 800,000 foreign chauffeurs, who are currently employed to ferry Saudi women around as they cannot drive themselves; the women’s families will however, be heaving a sigh of relief, as the cost of hiring in foreign chauffeurs, often from south-east Asia, paying them, housing them, feeding them, housing them and insuring them is extremely expensive.

Roll on the 24th June!