Campaign for female driving shifts gear: Shoura women join cause

Updated 15 October 2013

Campaign for female driving shifts gear: Shoura women join cause

Three women Shoura Council members recommended on Tuesday that the ban on women driving in the Kingdom be lifted.
According to one council member, Latifa Al-Shaalan, she and two fellow council members, Haya Al-Mani and Muna Al-Mashit, filed a recommendation urging the Kingdom’s top consultative body to “recognize the rights of women to drive a car in accordance with the principles of Shariah and traffic rules.”
They raised the issue during the Shoura Council’s review of a Ministry of Transport report.
“There is no law that bans women from driving. It is only a matter of tradition,” Al-Shaalan told AFP.
Saudi women have “made many achievements ... and have acquired leading positions in the government and the UN, yet they are banned from driving. This creates a negative image (for the Kingdom) abroad,” she told the wire service.
Feriyal Al-Kinj, a Saudi lawyer, told Arab News: “Laws must be put in place to protect female drivers against youth who may bother them.” Al-Kinj also said the government must ensure that women can drive safely.
“The government has to create an environment that is conducive to women driving, which includes special driving schools,” she said. “There must also be female traffic police.”
Al-Mani said that Article 8 stipulates that all people, regardless of gender, are equal under the law and that human rights are protected.
“Women are not excluded from obtaining driver’s licenses under the nine requirements for traffic regulations,” Al-Mani said.
“It is unfortunate that while women cannot drive cars, they have obtained the rank of minister and become Shoura Council members. For a woman to use a car, she has to employ a foreign driver at about SR3,300 a month. This is a financial burden that many families cannot afford.”
There was silence from the council’s other 120 members when they made the recommendation.
Abdullah Al-Asheikh, president of the council, responded to the recommendation by saying the topic raised by the three members “has nothing to do with the subject we are now discussing, which is the report drafted by the Ministry of Transport.”


DiplomaticQuarter: Chinese envoy, Saudi minister discuss ways to strengthen ties

Updated 4 min 6 sec ago

DiplomaticQuarter: Chinese envoy, Saudi minister discuss ways to strengthen ties

  • Saudi Arabia and China are comprehensive strategic partners with strong trade exchanges

RIYADH: Chinese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chen Weiqing called on Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh at his office in Riyadh, where they exchanged views on strengthening mutual cooperation.

Discussed at the meeting were issues of mutual interest to enhance bilateral cooperation, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

After the meeting, the Chinese ambassador tweeted: “I was honored to meet with the minister of Islamic affairs, and we exchanged views on strengthening the dialogue on civilizations and friendship between people of the two countries and issues of common interests.”

Earlier, Weiqing met Abdul Aziz Al-Owaisheq, assistant secretary-general for political affairs and negotiations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

He was accompanied by his delegation of officials from the Chinese Embassy in Riyadh.

During the meeting, they discussed ways to enhance joint cooperation, in accordance with the agreements signed within the framework of the strategic partnership between the two sides. 

They also discussed the latest developments in regional and international politics, issues of common interest, and their upcoming joint meetings.

Commenting on the meeting, the Chinese ambassador tweeted: “I am pleased to exchange views with the assistant secretary-general for political affairs and negotiations of the GCC about developing relationship between China and the council.”

Saudi Arabia and China are comprehensive strategic partners with strong trade exchanges and are keen on continuing their close bilateral relations and developing them into a long-term strategic partnership protecting mutual interests. 

Saudi Arabia is one of China’s top crude oil suppliers and an important market for its exports.