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

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.

 


Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

Updated 25 January 2020

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

ALULA: British band Jamiroquai thrilled a delighted audience at Maraya Concert Hall in Saudi Arabia on Friday night during a show packed with hits.

In a first for a venue more used to hosting opera and classical concerts, the British funk/acid jazz outfit had fans dancing along to the music.

The show, at the distinctive, mirror-covered concert hall in historic AlUla, was part of the second Winter at Tantora festival. It opened with “Shake It On,” followed by the hit singles “Little L,” “Alright,” and “Space Cowboy.” By this time the crowd was well and truly warmed up, and “Use the Force” got them on their feet.

“The song seemed to resonate with everyone” Jay Kay told Arab News in an exclusive interview after the show.

During the gig, Kay dedicated the 2002 song “Corner of the Earth” to AlUla, which he described as a “magical and wonderful place, which is absolutely stunning.” The opportunity to perform there was “an honor and privilege” he added. He also thanked “Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman for his vision, and Prince Badr for making this happen and the great hospitality.”

After a further selection of singles and album tracks, the show ended on a high with a quartet of hits — “Cosmic Girl,” “Virtual Insanity,” “Canned Heat” and “Lovefoolosophy.”

Kay praised the Maraya Concert Hall as “a brilliant place to play.” He admitted that initially he was a little worried when he saw it because he was under the impression it would be an outdoor venue. However, any concerns he had were gone by the time the first sound check was done.

“I was transported into a completely different world; the acoustics were unbelievable, like being in a German concert hall,” he said. “It is obviously very well thought out and that’s what makes it so good. The sound was fabulous — I never looked at my sound guy once.”

Jamiroquai’s music videos often feature Kay in super cars, of which he owns many, and he revealed that he would love to shoot such a promo in AlUla.

“In reality, I’m desperate to get in one of the dune buggies, and would kill to have a (Ariel) Nomad and have a go in one in AlUla, where it’s supposed to be driven, for a day or five and dune bash, which is such a rare thing for us in England,” he said.

The singer also said he wants to bring his family to AlUla, which has become a hub for culture and creativity in Saudi Arabia.

“I would like to come out with my family and my youngest, who is called Talula, so hopefully we can have Talula come to AlUla, which would be wonderful,” said Kay.

He added that he was looking forward to exploring the area on Saturday, before leaving the country, but added: “I’m sure you can never have enough time to see everything there is to see.”