ROME: The first instructor to teach driving to women in Saudi Arabia has received a prize in her country for her contribution to “the achievement of gender equality and women’s emancipation in the world.”
Francesca Pardini, an Italian former Formula 3 racecar pilot, won the “#FORUMAutoMotive Character of the Year 2022” award, organized by an Italian think tank focusing on a responsible and sustainable automotive industry.
The recognition is awarded annually to an individual who, during the previous year, distinguished him or herself “in carrying out tangible initiatives for the benefit of sustainable mobility as a whole.”
After concluding her career in the world of car racing, Pardini began working as a senior instructor at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. She has been a driving instructor for women in Saudi Arabia since June 2018.
“My students, who mostly were Saudi young girls, had great curiosity for cars and a huge desire to be behind the wheel. Now women in KSA are buying their own cars and [have become] much more independent than in the past. They prefer to drive Japanese brands,” Pardini said at the event in Milan, which was remotely attended by Arab News.
The Italian instructor also explained that it was “a pleasure working with Saudi young girls as they showed that [they] really want to learn how to drive and were already into cars and safe driving.”
Pierluigi Bonora, FORUMAutoMotive chairman, explained that Pardini received this year’s award “for having contributed to the achievement of gender equality and women’s emancipation in the world,” teaching the women of Saudi Arabia how to drive and promoting “full social inclusion and the removal of any residual barrier.”