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 efforts to promote tolerance, moderation lauded

Updated 23 July 2019
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Saudi efforts to promote tolerance, moderation lauded

RIYADH: The rector of the Islamic University of Brussels hailed Saudi efforts to promote moderate Islam, reject extremism, fight against terrorism, serve the religion and its followers, and respond to aberrant ideologies that have harmed the Muslim world.

Dr. Mustafa Khader Donmez also praised the programs carried out by the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance.

“The Kingdom has established specialized scientific, educational and media institutions, called for the unity of the Islamic nation, and cooperated with all that strengthens the nation’s unity and preserves its security,” he said.

“Saudi Arabia has been holding conferences inside and outside the Kingdom, to which it invited scholars and specialists, in cooperation with regional and international bodies to promote Islamic tolerance and address the causes of extremism and terrorism.”

Donmez said the Kingdom has invited Islamic institutions and international bodies to implement programs and events that fight extremism and condemn terrorism.

“The Kingdom is keen to promote international peace and communication between cultures and the followers of different religions through calling for interreligious and intercultural dialogue, a domain in which the Kingdom has been a pioneer,” he added.

Saudi Arabia “has taken the lead in spending for this purpose as it is in line with its high status on the Islamic and international levels,” he said. SPA Riyadh