First Saudi women with license to drive hailed as milestone on road to female empowerment

Saudi women will be allowed to drive from June 24.
Updated 06 June 2018
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First Saudi women with license to drive hailed as milestone on road to female empowerment

  • In September 2017, a royal decree issued by King Salman announced the end of the decades-long ban on women driving
  • Women can take their children to school and, of course, economically, it will reduce the cost of a driver at home

RIYADH: Saudi women have spoken of their excitement over the historic lifting of the ban on women driving in the week that the first 10 women in the Kingdom were issued with their driving licenses.

Commending the General Directorate of Traffic’s issuing of the first driving licenses, Hind Khalid Al-Zahid, who heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Arab News: “This is a very positive step toward promoting the rights and opportunities for women in the Kingdom in line with Vision 2030.”
Al-Zahid said: ”This is not just the right thing to do for female emancipation, but also an essential step in the economic and social development under the Vision 2030 reforms.
“This historic move also sends a clear message to the world that the changes in Saudi Arabia under Vision 2030 are real and significant. For Saudi women, it is another very important milestone on the road to empowerment,” she added.
Mona Salahuddin Al-Munajjed, a sociologist and the author of the book “Saudi Women: A Celebration of Success,” told Arab News that the move was a very positive step toward female emancipation. She added that it would usher in big changes in the Kingdom on both social and economic levels.
“This is wonderful news as this is a lawful right of every woman and today we are really joining 21st-century developments, it gives Saudi women more autonomy, independence and personal freedom.
“Saudi women can now share effectively the family responsibilities. They do not have to rely any more on a male driver to take them shopping to the supermarket. Women can take their children to school and, of course, economically, it will reduce the cost of a driver at home, the money which can be saved for other house expenses.”
In September 2017, a royal decree issued by King Salman announced the end of the decades-long ban on women driving. At the time it was announced that a ministerial body would facilitate implementation of the order.

 


Hollywood star Cuba Gooding Jr. shares career at Saudi Film Festival

Updated 26 March 2019
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Hollywood star Cuba Gooding Jr. shares career at Saudi Film Festival

  • He said he hopes to support Saudi filmmakers through his recently launched production company
  • The festival, at Ithra, is part of the Sharqiah Season in the Eastern Province

DHAHRAN: Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr. talked about his experiences in Hollywood, and the challenges he has faced during his career, when he appeared on Monday night at the fifth Saudi Film Festival, which is part of the Sharqiah Season in the Eastern Province.
Known for his roles in movies such as “Men of Honor”, “A Few Good Men” and “American Crime Story,” among others, he has appeared in more than 85 films during a 30-year career on screen and stage. He won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in the 1996 film “Jerry Maguire,” alongside Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger.
Gooding Jr. arrived for the event, at the King Abdul Aziz World Center for Culture (Ithra), accompanied by Claudine De Niro, the estranged wife of actor Robert De Niro’s son, Raphael. They were greeted by renowned Saudi film producer and Hollywood businessman Mohammed Al-Turki.
Gooding Jr. spoke to the audience at Ithra for almost 60 minutes about his long career and the challenges and pitfalls he had experienced on the road to success in the film industry. He also offered some advice to anyone interested in following in his footsteps.
“No one prepares you for success,” he said. “That’s why you see a lot of actors that star in movies, then disappear. Or you see athletes that make a $100 million and then they disappear, too. They weren’t ready for it.
“You have to envision yourself standing on that stage, holding an Oscar over your head, saying, ‘This is for the Middle-East’. You have to envision the script that you will write and envision being on that stage, holding that Oscar.
“People asked me after I won that Academy Award if I ever thought I would be on that stage. I always said, ‘Not in a million years.’ But that’s a lie. You have to envision yourself on that stage, winning that award, so that when you succeed it will feel normal, not like it’s something special, so that you can do it again.”
The actor also said that he intends to support filmmakers from Saudi Arabia and other countries through his recently launched production company.
Asked if he had any projects planned in the region, and Saudi Arabia in particular, he said: “I do, actually. I have a couple of things. I don’t want to give it away but let’s just say that there is a lot of great literature that I’ve read, a lot of different books, including Arabian Nights. It’s hard to talk about the things in development because you don’t want to give it away but there is definitely something in development.”