Meet ‘Captainah’ Enaam, Careem’s first female driver in Saudi Arabia

Enaam Gazi Al-Aswad
Updated 16 May 2018
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Meet ‘Captainah’ Enaam, Careem’s first female driver in Saudi Arabia

  • Enaam Gazi Al-Aswad was selected to become the first “captainah” — the female version of the Careem “captain,” as the firm calls its drivers
  • The 43-year-old learned how to drive in her native Syria

Careem, the Middle East’s ride-hailing firm, has named its first female driver in Saudi Arabia, as the Kingdom prepares to allow women behind the wheel from next month.

Enaam Gazi Al-Aswad was selected to become the first “captainah” — the female version of the Careem “captain,” as the firm calls its drivers — from among around 3,000 women looking for employment with the company. “When the authorities announced in September that women would be allowed to drive, I wanted to be the first and contacted Careem straight away,” Al-Aswad told Arab News at a media event in Dubai.

“It is wonderful to think that after all this time we will have the freedom to drive. It will help all of us build the future together in accordance with the Vision 2030 strategy.”

The 43-year-old divorcee learned how to drive in her native Syria, and has a driving license from that country. She expects to be able to obtain a Saudi license when she has completed 10 hours of driving tuition under the new laws. 

“I already have my own car, a Kia I bought in 2013, and I hope to be able to do the 10 hours of lessons in a few days,” she said.

She has already received all the necessary training from Careem to enable her to become a “captainah,” having been hand-picked by the Dubai-based company soon after last year’s royal decree on women driving.

“It is good for women’s career enhancement, and for their social lives. But also I think it is our national duty. It is a job to do for the Kingdom,” she said.

Al-Aswad trained as an airline flight attendant in Saudi Arabia before studying management science at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, where she lives. She expects that being a Careem driver will be the stepping stone to a better life for her and her two sons.

“For a woman on her own, it is a good way to earn a living and pay the bills. My sons are excited and very supportive of me. Careem drivers earn good money, I know. I am telling lots of my female friends to think about it too. I would like to be a guide as well as a driver,” she said.

Mudassir Sheikha, the co-founder and CEO of Careem, said that he expected new business to eventually make up for any short-term fall-off in revenues when women — who previously formed a majority of the firm’s passengers in the Kingdom — are able to take to the roads themselves. About 95 percent of drivers in the Kingdom are Saudi nationals, he added.


MWL chief receives World's Religions Peace Award

Muslim World League (MWL) Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa receives World’s Religions Peace Award from John Duke Anthony, founding president of the National Council on US-Arab Relations (NCUSAR), in Washington on Wednesday. (SPA)
Updated 41 min 18 sec ago
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MWL chief receives World's Religions Peace Award

  • Al-Issa has carried out many missions to combat extremist ideology and promote the values of fairness and moderation

RIYADH: The National Council on US-Arab Relations (NCUSAR) has awarded the secretary-general of the Muslim World League, Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, the World’s Religions Peace Award in recognition of his international efforts to promote peace among worshippers.

The NCUSAR founding president, John Duke Anthony, handed the award to the MWL secretary-general at a ceremony in Washington on the sidelines of his visit to the US.

Al-Issa has carried out many missions to combat extremist ideology and promote the values of fairness and moderation within the framework of enlightened Islamic discourse. 

This initiative is part of the cultural communication program and the implementation of the values of tolerance and coexistence in efficient practical programs, especially in religious and ethnic pluralistic countries. 

It focuses on moderation and tolerance, which are the values and principles of Islam, promoting diversity and the preservation of the human right to live in peace, dignity and legitimate freedom.

Since he became MWL secretary-general, Al-Issa has spread true Islamic values and achieved many successes in the Islamic and international world during his many journeys around the world.