IDs a must for Saudi women

Updated 27 March 2013
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IDs a must for Saudi women

The Council of Ministers yesterday issued a new law making independent national identity cards mandatory for Saudi women within a period of seven years. Saudi males 15 years old and older should also obtain separate identity cards.
“A Saudi citizen completing 15 years of age must have a national ID card of his own, and this shall be optional for those between 10 and 15 years,” the new law said. The card shall be issued on the basis of the Central Civil Registry.
The new law added: “A Saudi woman must have a national ID card on the basis of a phased plan, but without exceeding seven years. Afterwards, a national identity card shall be the only way to prove her identity.”
Saudi women have welcomed the Cabinet decision. Mysar Jabr, a female student, said it was another step toward empowering women. “It is vital for women, especially when they are in business and serve as Shoura members. They are not just dependent members,”she told Arab News. “Many civil institutions and government departments require IDs to provide their services,” Jabr said. “Before, women had to bring at least one family member to identify her.”
Jabr said her friend’s father didn’t want his daughter to have her own national identity card, fearing that she will be independent and can do whatever she wants. “She never got the ID card until she got married,” Jabr said.
An official at the women’s section in the Civil Affairs Department in Jeddah told Arab News that the ID can be used by women to meet the requirements of various departments. She added that girls now have to get their own IDs when completing 18 years.
Arwa Turkistani, another student, was not very excited by the decision as she thinks that women would still require men besides them to complete most transactions. However, she said it is a good move that would give women at least have self satisfaction.


Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

There was an explosion of joy at the podium when Antonio Felix da Costa lifted the winner’s trophy at the conclusion of the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix on Saturday. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 16 December 2018
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Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

  • Three-day event at Ad Diriyah reaches spectacular climax in an unprecedented spirit of openness

The driver with the winner’s trophy was Antonio Felix da Costa — but the real winners were Saudi Arabia itself, and more than 1,000 tourists visiting the country for the first time.

Da Costa, the Andretti Motorsport driver, won the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix in front of thousands of race fans at a custom-built track in the historic district on the outskirts of Riyadh.

But in truth, the event was about much more than high-tech electric cars hurtling round a race track — thrilling though that was. The three-day festival of motorsport, culture and entertainment was Saudi Arabia’s chance to prove that it can put on a show to rival anything in the world, and which only two years ago would have been unthinkable.

The event was also the first to be linked to the Sharek electronic visa system, allowing foreigners other than pilgrims or business visitors to come to Saudi Arabia.

Jason, from the US, is spending a week in the country with his German wife, riding quad bikes in the desert and visiting heritage sites. “I’ve always wanted to come for many, many years ... I’m so happy to be here and that they’re letting us be here,” he said.

Aaron, 40, a software engineer, traveled from New York for two days. “Saudi Arabia has always been an exotic place ... and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to come here,” he said.

About 1,000 visitors used the Sharek visa, a fraction of what Saudi Arabia aims eventually to attract. 

“Hopefully we will learn from this and see what we need to do for the future, but I can tell you from now that there is a lot of demand,” said Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, vice chairman of the General Sports Authority.

His optimism was backed by Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and a visitor to Ad Diriyah. “Such events will attract tourists and are a true celebration for young Saudis who desire a bright future,” he said.

“The vision of moderate Islam, promoted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is important both for the region and the entire world, and its realization needs to be appreciated, respected and supported.”

The event ended on Saturday night with a spectacular show by US band OneRepublic and the superstar DJ David Guetta. “Just when you think things can’t get better, they suddenly do,” said concertgoer Saleh Saud. “This is the new Saudi Arabia, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.”