Driven by confidence, women acquiring licenses to be behind the wheel abroad

Not allowed to drive cars in the Kingdom, many Saudi women are going abroad to get driver’s licenses.

“I travel almost every summer and my non-Saudi friends are the ones who usually pick me up and drop me off at hotels when I go abroad. It was because of this that I decided to learn how to drive so I wouldn’t be a burden on them,” said Noor Badr, a 26-year-old businesswoman. “I actually learned how to drive in the Kingdom with the help of my elder brother who used to take me far away from the city and give me intensive lessons. A year later I got a driving license from Lebanon,” she added.

Badr’s story makes it clear that the male relatives of these women do not usually mind teaching them how to drive. “Not being able to drive in the Kingdom shouldn’t be a reason why Saudi women don’t know how to drive. My father taught me how to drive when I turned 16 in the UAE,” said Fatima Rizq, a 26-year-old dentist.

“As soon as I became 20, I applied for a driving license because I travel a lot and need to have my own car to make transport easy,” she added.

For some Saudi women, having your own driving license is a sign of prestige.

“I just don’t believe that women shouldn’t have driving licenses because they aren’t allowed to drive in the Kingdom and that when they go abroad they can hire taxis and like. I just feel I shouldn’t be less than other women in the world,” said Rufaida Jamal, a 24-year-old interior designer.

“I have a driving license because it looks good in my wallet and I sometimes use it for ID,” she added.

Learning how to drive gives Saudi women the security of knowing that they can get behind the wheel when they need to. “I decided to learn how to drive and get a driving license after reading the story of a young woman who rescued her family in the Jeddah floods last year using a four-by-four,” said Mona Hejazi, a 31-year-old housewife.

“I thought, what if that woman was me and I had to rescue my family … if learning how to drive is the only way this young woman could help her family, then I should learn too. You never know when it could come in use,” she added.

According to Mostafa Ali, a 52-year-old father, all women should learn how to drive regardless of whether they are allowed to do so in the Kingdom.

“You never know what might happen. I was put in a situation when my 22-year-old daughter had to drive my car from Jeddah to Madinah and then switch places with me when we got close to the checkpoint. All this, because I got sick on my way and couldn’t drive anymore because of my diabetes,” he said. – Arabnews