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.

 


Riyadh Season Boulevard zone opens with spectacular parade

Updated 18 October 2019

Riyadh Season Boulevard zone opens with spectacular parade

  • The Riyadh parade is thought to be the biggest parade in Kingdom to date

RIYADH: More than 1,500 performers and 25 floats took part in a parade and carnival on Thursday night that officially launched Riyadh Season’s Boulevard zone. The crowds that gathered for the fun-packed event were also treated to motorcycle displays, fireworks and other surprises.

The Boulevard lit up at 9 p.m. for the start of the 90-minute event, which featured some of the international artists who will perform as part of Riyadh Season. Afterwards, the zone’s food and drink outlets, outdoor cinema and fountain shows officially opened.

The audience watched the parade, performances and displays from specially constructed stands. Food trucks offered a selection of tasty snacks, and organizers also provided prayer rooms, toilets, first-aid stations and other facilities.

 

GEA president Turki Al-Sheikh gave an opening speech: “Our dearest people, in the beginning of this season, we welcome you and our guests in Riyadh.

“I want to share a story with you all; once upon a time, I was from a middle-class family. My mother and father would gather both their salaries to have us travel to see the world, and then we would stay in Riyadh for a year. These were our capabilities (at the time) and there was nothing to do in Riyadh. Who would've thought that we’d see all of this in Riyadh, and in our beloved country?

“This wouldn't have been possible without -of course Allah first- a person who has the qualities and vision of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

He tweeted: “Riyadh traffic police estimated we have exceeded 600K which means ten times the capacity.”

In addition to the opening-night festivities, the Boulevard zone, which covers 400,000 square meters, will host a wide range of entertainment options and activities for all ages, including the outdoor cinema, restaurants, and sports, music and theatrical events. It has three main venues: The 22,000-seat Mohammed Abdu Theater, the 6,000-seat Abu Bakr Salem Theater, and the 2,000-seat Baker Al-Sheddi Theater.

The parade is just one of more than 100 events featuring local, regional and international performers taking place during the Riyadh Season festival, which continues until mid-December at 12 zones across the city: the Boulevard; the Front; Riyadh Car Show; Winter Wonderland; Riyadh Stadiums; the Diplomatic Quarter; Al-Muraba’a; Al-Malaz; Wadi Namar; Nabd Al-Riyadh; Riyadh Safari; and Riyadh Sahara. It has been organized with the support of Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the General Entertainment Authority and president of Riyadh Season.

The ambitious 2019 Saudi Seasons initiative, the first of its kind in the region, was launched in February and includes 11 local seasons covering most parts of the Kingdom. Designed to promote the fledgling Saudi entertainment sector and boost tourism, it is attracting some of the biggest names in world entertainment.

The Riyadh parade is thought to be the biggest parade in Kingdom to date. It follows a folklore parade at the Mawtni (My Nation) cultural event in Yanbu to mark Saudi National Day this year, and a parade during the Jeddah Season festivities in the city’s Obhur district.

The parade had a special surprise; the appearance of DJ Carnage who took to the stage dressed in complete Saudi attire and performed his successful electronic show.

The musician also took to Twitter to celebrate the night and how he had had a hand in “making history,” tweeting: “A huge thank you to @Turki_alalshikh  ..... what you did for your country last night... was so special... thank you for having me... we made history.”