Saudi Arabian women are officially able to drive now after a longtime ban that has been lifted. The ban was lifted just after midnight on Sunday and women did not hesitate to hit the road. Before, women had to rely on men in their family to provide them with rides to run errands and go to work. Now, Saudi Arabia becomes the last country to allow women to drive.
Fawaz al-Harbi, a Saudi woman, issued the following statement:
“I see that this decision will make women equal to men and this will show us that women are capable of doing anything a man can do. I am very supportive and, in fact, I have been waiting for this decision so that my mother, my sisters will drive”
The majority of women in Saudi Arabia do not have a driver’s license and there is a process that they will have to go through. Gender-segregated driving courses were first offered to women 3-months ago in preparation for the new law. Currently, there is a long waiting list of eager women for these classes. The classes often run for a few hundred dollars.
Lulwa al-Fireiji, a 60-year-old Saudi woman, issued the following statement:
“I will get my driver’s license, but I won’t drive because I have a driver. I am going to leave it for an emergency. It is one of my rights and I will keep it in my purse.”
Many women are like Lulwa and have chauffer’s accessible to them. Some women are holding off on getting a driver’s license because they want to see how male drivers react. Having this ban lifted gives new freedom to women. The law is historic.
A Saudi woman, Mabkhoutah al-Mari, explained how good it felt to drive for the first time:
“It feels beautiful. It was a dream for us so when it happens in reality, I am between belief and disbelief- between a feeling of joy and astonishment.”
Featured Image via Pixabay