Height of adventure: Saudi woman conquers Everest

Updated 26 May 2013
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Height of adventure: Saudi woman conquers Everest

KATMANDU, Nepal: A 25-year-old graduate student from Jeddah has made history by becoming the first Saudi woman to reach the world's highest peak Mount Everest, world news agencies reported Saturday.
Raha Moharrak, a university graduate currently based in Dubai, was with a group of 64 climbers who have successfully scaled Mount Everest from Nepal’s side of the mountain, reports from the BBC and Associated Press said.
Tilak Padney of Nepal’s Mountaineering Department said 35 foreigners accompanied by 29 Nepalese Sherpa guides reached the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak on Saturday morning after climbing all night from the highest camp on South Col.
All were reported to be safe.
Moharrak was with a four-person expedition that also includes two Arab men climbers from Qatar and Palestine, both attempting to be billed the first of their nations to reach the summit, said the BBC.
The expedition aims to raise one million dollars for education projects in Nepal, the report added.
A biography on the expedition website said Moharrak's family fully supported her participation in the climb, although convincing them to agree "was as great a challenge as the mountain itself."
On her making history, she said: "I really don't care about being the first. So long as it inspires someone else to be second."


World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

A Saudi woman and her friends celebrate her first time driving on a main street of Alkhobar city in eastern Saudi Arabia on her way to Bahrain on June 24, 2018. (AFP / HUSSAIN RADWAN)
Updated 25 June 2018
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World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

  • As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips
  • The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet 

JEDDAH: The world awoke on Sunday to images and video footage many thought they would never see — newly empowered Saudi women taking the wheel and driving their cars.

As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips, while some police officers among the large number out on the streets distributed roses to the first-time drivers.

The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet.

“I hope doing so on the day when women can drive on the roads in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shows what you can do if you have the passion and the spirit to dream,” she said.

In a tribute to Saudi female drivers, the Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji released a special video of a song she performed live in Riyadh at a concert last December “Today women in Saudi Arabia can legally drive their cars,” she said. “Congratulations on this achievement, this one’s for you!”

Back home in Saudi Arabia, the atmosphere was euphoric. “It’s a beautiful day,” businesswoman Samah Algosaibi said as she cruised around the city of Alkhobar. 

“Today we are here,” she said from the driver’s seat. “Yesterday we sat there,” she said, pointing to the back.

“I feel proud, I feel dignified and I feel liberated,” said Saudi Shoura Council member Lina Almaeena, one of the first women to drive in the Kingdom.

She told Arab News that the event was changing her life by “facilitating it, making it more comfortable, making it more pleasant, and making it more stress-free.”

Almaeena urged all drivers to follow the traffic and road safety rules. “What’s making me anxious is the misconduct of a lot of the drivers, the male drivers. Unfortunately they’re not as disciplined as they should be. Simple things such as changing lanes and using your signals — this is making me anxious.

“But I’m confident: I’ve driven all around the world when I travel, especially when I’m familiar with the area. It’s really mainly how to be a defensive driver because you have to be.”