JEDDAH: Following the lifting of a ban on driving, Saudi women are in a festive mood. On Sunday, many women in the Kingdom with valid driver’s licenses took to roads on their vehicles.
It is a historic reform, which is expected to usher in a new era of prosperity and economic development in the Kingdom.
Social media is abuzz with tweets and posts celebrating this key development. Saudi officials, businessmen and even international celebrities used social media to express their feelings on this historic decision and to congratulate Saudi women on this important day.
Mody Al-Khalaf, a Saudi Shoura Council member, expressed her support to her fellow sisters using Twitter. She tweeted: “It is now 11:59 PM, June 24th in Saudi Arabia. If there ever was a historical 60 seconds, this is it. #ReadySetGo #SaudiWomenDriving”
Top businesswoman Ameera Al-Taweel called on men to extend full support to women and help them achieve their goals in life.
“On such a historic day, I wish to see women being brave and men supporting them. In most countries, we see a ‘New Driver’ sign at the back of every vehicle indicating that the person driving is inexperienced — out of consideration for new drivers. I wish we could all be considerate of other women and realize that this experience is new for them, just to ensure everything goes smoothly for everyone.”
A twitter user Aziz Al-Angari (@AzizAngari) from Saudi Arabia shared his first experience with an Uber lady driver, Ohoud. “Just requested my first Uber ride from a Saudi female. Thanks for the ride, Ohoud! #SaudiWomenDriving”
In an apparent dig at those who used to oppose women driving in the past, the former imam of Makkah’s Grand Mosque, Adel Al-Kalbani, tweeted: “Aren’t those who said ‘women won’t drive” cute?’”
Former Pakistani cricket player Shoaib Akhtar, also known as the Rawalpindi Express for his lightening bowling spells on the field, tweeted: “Congratulations to all the women in #SaudiArabia #womenempowerment #SaudiWomenDriving.”
Talli Dar, artist/YouTuber from Toronto tweeted: “Starting today, Saudi women can finally drive. They’ve officially been issued their licenses and can start racing Saudi men on the streets and see who’s the Fastest & Most Furious. Historic moment #SaudiWomenDriving.”
Lebanese model and actress Nadine Njeim shared a touching video congratulating Saudi women. She encouraged them to continue being role models in leadership roles as well.
“Every woman in the Arab world and especially in Saudi Arabia – today is your day, today you achieved greatness because you trusted in yourself, your strength and abilities.”
Hiba Tawaji, the Lebanese soprano singer, also released a video to congratulate Saudi women by sharing a song she performed live in Riyadh on Dec. 7, 2017. She said: “Today women in Saudi Arabia can legally drive their cars. Congratulations!”