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Women 'steering' their way as Saudi Arabia lifts ban on female driving

News Agencies | Updated on: 24 June 2018, 10:10 IST

Minutes after Saudi Arbia lifted ban on female driving, women hit the roads, steering their way through busy roads.

"It looks way different from the back seat", this was the reaction of one of the Saudi women as she sat behind the wheels for the first time in the country on Saturday after the administration lifted decade-long ban on women's driving and granting licenses to them earlier this month.

A Saudi woman, who used to drive earlier outside Saudi Arabia, now drove within her native place for the first time after the ban was lifted.

While unable to explain her feeling in words, she managed to say, "My eyes are everywhere. I am not used to this.. I need not ask anyone to take me around. It is very important for us to drive. A lot of us don't need to drive. I used to drive and do my own things and now I could do it again."

She then drove to her father's house who was also delighted to see her independently driving the vehicle.

One of her second-generation female relatives also expressed her happiness and said, "It feels natural for them to do something (driving) that every other woman is doing in this world."

The religiously conservative kingdom, which has some of the world's tightest restrictions on women, started issuing its first driving licences for female motorists earlier this month, as per Al Jazeera.

The move was ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last September with an aim to reform the country.

Though the government has taken a positive move it is still a long way for Saudi women to have equal driving rights as men.

"The fees for having lessons are six times more than men. This is one of the restrictions and this makes women not being able to access driving licenses in a fast way, in addition to the limited driving schools in Saudi Arabia," Al Jazeera quoted Suad Abu-Dayyeh, Middle East consultant for the Equality Now non-governmental organisation as saying.
A special driving school for women is also in the pipeline.


First published: 24 June 2018, 10:10 IST