The first batch of Saudi women has gotten their driving licenses just about 20 days before the official lifting of the ban on women driving in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The ban will be lifted on June 24.
This is the first time in over fifty years that women in Saudi Arabia will be able to drive legally. The first ten women have been issued their licenses as of now.
Ten women went through a health check and a small driving test behind the wheel to check if they were eligible before they got their licenses from the Riyadh Traffic Office.
Rema Jawdat, who works for the Ministry of Economy and Planning, told the Kingdom’s Center for International Communication, “I have 12 years of driving experience in Lebanon, Switzerland, and the United States. It’s a dream come true that I am about to drive in the Kingdom. The moment I got the news about driving was unbelievable for me.”
Jawdat, one of the women who received their licenses, continued, “Driving, to me, represents having a choice: the choice of independent movement.”
Tahani Aldosemani, Assistant Professor at the Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University, exchanged her US driving license with a new Saudi one. She said, “I lived in the United States while earning my PhD for 4 years, travelling and moving between states without any problem or violation of the law.”
Aldosemani continued, “Driving for women is not just about driving a car; it enhances the strength of character, self-confidence, and decision-making skills. It also instils a sense of responsibility for yourself, your vehicle, the road, and the people around you, not to mention the economic and social dimensions of driving.”
Another one of the women, Esraa Albuti, who got her own driving license said, “I’m proud of the news about driving. It’s a step forward, and it will add a lot to the lives of women. As a working woman, I need to move around a lot at different times of the day, and it is hard to have a driver dedicated to me 24 hours a day.”
Esraa continued, “I would say that even when a driver is available, there will still be difficulties, so what would women who live through harder circumstances than me say.”
Saudi Arabia is a country with very limited public transport facilities, and this ban lift will provide benefits to thousands of women to go about their daily routine.
King Salman bin Abdul Aziz took the decision to lift the ban last September, which was on the lines of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 blueprint, to encourage women empowerment.