Saudi women ready for driving historic moment

Wheel of change



— Women in Saudi Arabia are now preparing for the historic day in which they will drive legally on the Kingdom’s streets in different regions for the first time.

Dalal Kaki, a retired Saudi women and backing women empowerment, said she is ready to drive. Kaki got her license when she was 18 years old from Egypt and got another one from Jordan five years ago.

“It was easy exchanging the license here as it just required to take a test and then I obtained the license within 30 minutes. All the preparations were perfect at the driving school,” she said. Kaki noted she has received many inquiries from women wanting to exchange their licenses and added “they are all excited to drive.”

Kaki believed the late regulations banning taking photos of women driving and the anti-harassment law will regulate the streets and will make women confident while driving.

Samira Al-Ghamdi, head of awareness, public relations, and media in Jeddah Mental Health hospital, said she will drive Sunday at 12:00 a.m. along with some other ladies in the city to encourage other women to drive.

According to her it will take time to adapt to the changes but she is optimistic that everything will go smoothly. She called on all women to learn how to drive and teach their daughters instead of listening to negative thoughts about driving or spreading them.

Al-Ghamdi has been trained long time ago by her father and siblings but has never obtained a license. She got trained here at the King Abdulaziz University driving school. She highlighted that the school was well equipped and all trainers were Saudis and majority of them were under 35 yeas old and they were studying abroad on scholarship programs.

Al-Ghamdi said she has done 8 hours of theoretical classes and 20 practical hours. She noted that it did not take much of her time to get her license after completing the driving course.

Wala Tahawi, working in a public relations firm, has finalized the required training, obtained her license and is now ready to drive with confidence. Tahawi said she started from scratch with no background in driving. However, she said she was impressed by the curriculum provided at her driving school which she said covered all aspects and answered all questions.

Tahawi, who went to Saudi Aramco driving school, has done two days of theory and 22 hours of driving. Females attending the driving courses, she said, ranged from 20 to 40 years old and they all shared the excitement of driving. “We will drive with knowledge,” said Tahawi.

Speaking about women driving, she said it is about having the option, being equal and independent. She answered the opposing individuals by saying that they have no say on women choices especially that their male guardians are approving their move. She noted that both her father and husband are very supportive of her driving.

Tahawi said she will be driving a used car until she manages to buy a fancy car, which she will buy from her own salary. “That is part of the package of being independent,” she commented, adding that her first ride will be to pick her sister up from work.

Majdouleen Al-Atiq said she is all ready for this historic moment and added that she has already chosen her first ride, which, she said, will be to her mother’s home. Al-Atiq got her license easily since she is experienced in driving having studied and lived in California for over four years.

She called on Saudi women to be confident and proud of themselves and thankful for being in this country, which gave you this chance. She noted,“We will not need drivers gradually within the coming months.”