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Saudi Women Driving Ban End Sees Women Driving, Boost To Economy Anticipated


06/25/2018


Saudi Women Driving Ban End Sees Women Driving, Boost To Economy Anticipated
The last ban in the world on female drivers came to an end after Saudi women took to the wheels of cars in the country at midnight on Sunday. This brought an end to a tradition that was seen as a means of women's repression in a society that is conservatively Muslim.
 
"It feels weird, I am so happy ... I'm just too proud to be doing this right now," 23-year-old Majdooleen al-Ateeq told the media as she drove across Riyadh for the first time in her black Lexus.
 
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia has embarked upon a series of social and economic reforms aimed primarily at the transformation of the country’s economy and shift it away from its dependency on oil and the order to lift the ban on women ‘s driving is part of that plan. the order was given by King Salman last September and was influenced by the crown prince.
 
The lifting of the ban was marked by women driving drove up and down a main road and cheered on as the police remained silent.
 
"We are ready, and it will totally change our life," Samira al-Ghamdi, a 47-year-old psychologist from Jeddah and one of the first women to be issued a license told the media about the lifting of the ban.
 
Western allies of the country view this ban lifting as testimony of a new progressive trend in Saudi Arabia. The ban had bene looked down upon by the international community and were compared to the repressive rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
 
However, such liberalization has also come with a crackdown on dissent which included taking stringent action against some of those activists who had been instrumental in campaigning against the ban. They are now lodged in jail.
 
The number of new female drivers in the country is low because those holding foreign driving licenses only started to convert them this month. there are others who are undergoing training at new state-run driving schools and it is expected that about 3 million women in the country would start driving by 2020. While some of those women could face opposition to their driving by their relatives, there are others who would not want to take on the busy roads and highways as they have got accustomed to private drivers.

"I definitely won't like to drive," Fayza al-Shammary, a 22-year-old saleswoman, told the media. "I like to be a princess with someone opening the car door for me and driving me anywhere."
 
There are also expectations that the lifting of the ban would give a boost to the industry and industry segments ranging from auto manufacturers to insurance firms would benefit.
 
This measure is expected to allow families to save on billions of dollars on chauffeurs and would encourage more women to enter the workforce and increase productivity – albeit in a moderate manner to start off with.
 
Signs of impact on economy of the decision of lifting of the ban can be seen already. While private parking garages have already designated "ladies" areas with pink signage, there are auto companies that have come up with theatrical ads to highlight the end of the ban.,
 
(Source:www.cnbc.com)