RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is undergoing a huge socioeconomic transformation. Granting women the right to drive is part of the drive to ensure sustainable economic development.
Women in the Kingdom are pretty excited by this decision. Arab News spoke to four women of different age groups with different educational backgrounds to gauge their views on this issue.
Wijdan Saleh, 34, artist
“I can finally drive. It will enhance the quality of my life. I believe that our society is now ready for this change. This is more than enough. The authorities have laid the groundwork for the effective implementation of this decision by organizing awareness campaigns on women driving and workshops to educate women about different aspects of driving and maintenance of vehicles etc. In addition, strict laws are now in place to prevent harassment. Insurance companies are also offering discounts for women. There are lucrative leasing options for cars as well. Now only one thing is left: Seeing women driving in Saudi Arabia.
Nourah Al-Hajri, 29
“I believe that women are ready. The majority of men support their female relatives in this regard. The society on the whole is supporting the idea. That means we, women, should start driving at the earliest. In my opinion, there is no valid reason for me to postpone driving for even a day. We have been waiting for this historic change in our society for so long because it will shape a new culture where women are independent and part of the development of our country. I believe women aged 35 and above will be the first ones to start driving immediately while the younger ones are likely to follow suit a few months later. Perhaps, some of them would like to know how it goes and others are holding back because their families asked them to wait for some time.”
Om Saleh Abdullah, a mother of five
“All my daughters are below 30. I want them to wait for a while. I think they don’t have enough knowledge about car maintenance. However, if they wait some time, they will learn from other women’s experiences and benefit from them. Furthermore, the historic decree was issued last year, but the implementation took time. I prefer to let my daughters wait until our society gets used to seeing women driving. In my opinion, this will take 3-6 months. I want them to start driving when it is completely normal, it is a new thing and it takes few months till it becomes a routine thing to see women driving on their own.”
Heba Ahmed, 27, translator
“I prefer to start driving after a few months. The only reason for this delay is that I discontinued my driving training due to a huge number of women learners. At that time, the number of instructors was limited as compared to the number of women willing to attend the training. I will restart my training once things calm down and training institutes become less crowded. People usually run after new ideas but the excitement comes down as the novelty of an idea wears off. I think I will wait for six months to begin my driving lessons again.”
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