Driving with a hijab

A "U-turn" for Saudi Arabia

In the "western world", women are commanding ships, fly commercial aircraft and engage in dangerous missions, with lethal equipment. Men and women, grow up together, have a common education and cooperate peacefully (most of the time), without eliminating their individual characteristics.

Up until now, women were not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. Over the years, many of them have been imprisoned for driving. It may sound odd in other parts of the world, but stranger things have been made public. Earlier this month, a Saudi cleric was banned from preaching, after saying that the brains of women shrink to a quarter the size of a man’s when they go shopping, thus they should not drive.

In a country with almost no public transport, designed in a way that using a car becomes a necessity, women have been dependent on a male escort/driver (in many cases a close relative), to get from A to B. This now changes. The Royal Decree issued allows women to drive and this turns the page to a new era.

There are still issues to be addressed, such us defining the framework for police search of female drivers. Another topic is that of training, since all driving instructors are currently men. However, the gains from this decision are of monumental importance for the convenience, free movement, but also employment of women, since they can now accept job offers, without distance restrictions.

One thing is certain. This will give a great boost to the local car market and will inevitably become a first step to further progress, with a view to modernizing the country.

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