First female Saudi Ferrari owner joins Italians to celebrate women driving

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Aseel Al-Hamad, the first Saudi woman board member at the Saudi Arabia motor federation and the first Saudi female to own a Ferrari, was a special guest at the Italian Culture Center’s event called “Saudi Women Can Drive.” (AN Photo)
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Aseel Al-Hamad, the first Saudi woman board member at the Saudi Arabia motor federation and the first Saudi female to own a Ferrari, was a special guest at the Italian Culture Center’s event called “Saudi Women Can Drive.” (AN Photo)
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Aseel Al-Hamad, the first Saudi woman board member at the Saudi Arabia motor federation and the first Saudi female to own a Ferrari, was a special guest at the Italian Culture Center’s event called “Saudi Women Can Drive.” (AN Photo)
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Aseel Al-Hamad, the first Saudi woman board member at the Saudi Arabia motor federation and the first Saudi female to own a Ferrari, was a special guest at the Italian Culture Center’s event called “Saudi Women Can Drive.” (AN Photo)
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Aseel Al-Hamad, the first Saudi woman board member at the Saudi Arabia motor federation and the first Saudi female to own a Ferrari, was a special guest at the Italian Culture Center’s event called “Saudi Women Can Drive.” (AN Photo)
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Aseel Al-Hamad, the first Saudi woman board member at the Saudi Arabia motor federation and the first Saudi female to own a Ferrari, was a special guest at the Italian Culture Center’s event called “Saudi Women Can Drive.” (AN Photo)
Updated 01 March 2018
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First female Saudi Ferrari owner joins Italians to celebrate women driving

JEDDAH: Aseel Al-Hamad, the first Saudi woman board member at the Saudi Arabia motor federation and the first Saudi female to own a Ferrari, was a special guest at the Italian Culture Center’s event on Feb. 27 called “Saudi Women Can Drive.”
Diplomatic guests included Vincenzo Amendola, undersecretary of state of Italy, and Luca Ferrari, the Ambassador of Italy to Saudi Arabia in Riyadh.
Elisabetta Martini, the consul general of Italy in Jeddah, said: “The royal decree issued last September which has removed the ban on Saudi women to drive in their own country opens a huge market now for many companies.
“Mostly it was a dream that came true and tonight’s event is not about economy but about dreams. The two companies represented here, Ferrari and Maserati, are brands that have contributed the most in the creation of the Italian dream.”
Al-Hamad is an interior design engineer graduate and businesswomen who followed her dream about Ferrari cars. She decided to reward herself because of her successful business (a design company), and the reward was a roaring Ferrari car. She said how glad she was about the royal decree, which will have “a positive reflection for the country socially and economically.”
“I was so pleased by the decision, just like any other Saudi woman, and I was assured that my decision to buy the car of my dreams was the best decision to make. am so happy because I will drive soon in the Kingdom.”
Amendola told Arab News: “The reform decision helps use the energy of this country, especially of women in this young generation. This energy can help to achieve the reform that the government is presenting. The friendship between our countries is historical but now there are many projects that we are planning together.”
Another attendee said: “I am American by blood but Saudi at heart, and women being able to drive is absolutely superb. It rocks!”
Two Italian car brands presented a number of cars in the event, including Maserati. A short documentary was played about Maria Teresa de Filippis, an Italian who was the first woman to race in Formula One. She participated in five World Championship Grands Prix after May 1958, but scored no championship points. Though her Formula One career was brief, she won races in other series and is remembered as a pioneer in the sport.
Saudi women will be free to drive in the Kingdom by June 24.


Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

The end of the driving ban is expected to help bring an economic windfall for Saudi women. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

  • The historic move is a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Saudi Arabia, says businesswoman
  • A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market

The end of the driving ban will boost women’s financial power and allow them to play a bigger role in economic and social diversification in line with Vision 2030, prominent businesswomen said on Friday.

Hind Khalid Al-Zahid was the first Saudi woman designated as an executive director — for Dammam Airport Company — and also heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

She sees the historic move as a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Kingdom.

“Women being allowed to drive is very important; of course this will help a lot in sustainable development as the lifting of the ban on women driving came as a wonderful opportunity to increase women’s participation in the workforce,” she told Arab News on Friday, ahead of the end of the ban on Sunday.

She added that women in the job market are under-represented; they make up to 22 percent of the national workforce of about six million according to official estimates. Lifting the ban will help to take women’s representation in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030, she said.

“This is not just the right thing to do for women’s emancipation, but also an essential step in economic and social development as part of the reforms,” she said.

She said that there were different obstacles in increasing women’s participation in the workforce and other productive activities, and the driving ban was one of them. It was a strategic issue that needed to be addressed on a priority basis. With the issue resolved, it would help immensely in giving Saudi women better representation as they would help to diversify the Saudi economy and society.

She said that women could contribute hugely to the workforce and labor market as half of Saudi human resources were female, and unless allowed to excel in different sectors it would not be possible to do better, mainly because of restricted mobility.

A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market.

Nouf Ibrahim, a businesswoman in Riyadh, said: “It will surely boost female economic participation and help increase women’s representation in the workforce immensely. It will also help to reduce the overall national unemployment rate as most of the unemployed are women and many of them are eligible as university graduates.”

She echoed the opinion that the move would help to bring an economic windfall for Saudi women, making it easier for them to work and do business, and thus play a bigger and better role that would help economic and social diversification in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

“Being able to drive from Sunday onwards after the ban is lifted will be a wonderful experience. Earlier we were dependent on a male family member and house driver to take us to workplace, to the shopping center, school or other required places for some work, now we can drive and that will allow active participation in productive work,” Sulafa Hakami, a Saudi woman working as the digital communication manager with an American MNC in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“Saudi women can now share effectively the bigger and better responsibilities,” she said.