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.


Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center launches “Kingdom of Energy” podcast

Updated 24 May 2019
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Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center launches “Kingdom of Energy” podcast

  • The program targets decision makers, specialists and workers in the energy sectors

RIYADH: The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) has inaugurated a podcast program, titled “Kingdom of Energy”, through which specialized researchers can talk about energy economics, policies, techniques and related environmental issues.

The podcast is an opportunity for people interested in the field of energy to listen to the opinions of specialists in the field, including workers or partners of the center, whether local or international cadres.

The program targets decision makers, specialists and workers in the energy sectors through a new platform on the center’s website, allowing visitors to listen to podcast episodes.

The program is working on producing “Kingdom of Energy” episodes on a regular basis. The first episode is now available on the website in English, and another series is to be produced in Arabic.

KAPSARC is a non-profit research center that conducts independent research into global energy economics, policies, techniques and related environmental studies. The center seeks to find solutions for the most-effective and productive use of energy to promote economic and social growth locally, regionally and internationally.