‘Many role models among Saudi women’

Updated 09 January 2014
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‘Many role models among Saudi women’

Saudi Arabia has many inspirational women that are ideal role models for future generations, a leading businesswoman said here recently.
Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud, chief executive officer of Alfa International and Al-Hama LLC, and head of the judges’ panel for the Arab Woman Awards, said this would contribute to a successful nation.
She made the comments on Wednesday in Riyadh at a meeting to pick the winners of the awards. ITP Consumer, the largest publishing group in the Gulf, established the awards in 2009, to honor inspirational Arab women.
“I’m very proud that my nation can give us so many accomplished and successful women from diverse backgrounds. I believe the event is an opportunity and responsibility to inspire the next generation. Our nation is blessed with enough role models to motivate us all to succeed.”
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Jan. 29 in Riyadh. The event is strictly for women only.
The panel of judges includes Rasha Al-Turki, chief executive officer of Al-Nahda Philanthropic Society for Women; Rola Ashour, lecturer at Dar Al-Hekma College; Lina Almaeena, founder of the Jeddah United basketball team; Sue Holt, deputy general manager at ITP; and Nadine Al-Chaer, editor of Ahlan! Arabia, ITP’s weekly female Arabic lifestyle magazine.
The nominees will be judged in different categories including business, education, art, literature, sport, fashion design, medical, humanitarian, media, government, Inspirational Arab Woman of the Year, and Lifetime Achievement.
Holt said the awards have gathered momentum in the Gulf. “These awards will now run annually in January so we can discover more talented women and hopefully create positive role models for others.”
Since its formation, the event has honored over 170 successful women. In the past five years, it has grown from being held annually in the United Arab Emirates to include Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. It will be held in Bahrain in 2015.


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, while some police officers among the large number out on the streets distributed roses to the first-ti
  • 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.”