This article talks about the ban on driving women are forced to follow in Saudi Arabia and how they are finally considering proposals to allow women to drive. A member of the king’s advisory council has said they are working towards making an effort to change this law. Although this would be a great stride in their country because women have been oppressed for so long there are still restrictions they would emplace. The law allowing women to drive would apply only to women over 30, who must be off the road by 8pm and cannot wear make-up while driving. To me, this is crazy!! The fact that women in general cannot drive and they claim it’s to “keep them safe” is very hard to believe.
I am very interested in this topic because my Aunt on my father’s side who is originally from Ethiopia, moved to Saudi Arabia with her husband and kids due to his job and she is now forced to follow this law. Women in Saudi Arabia are required to be escorted by their husband, or a male family member. This can be extremely difficult if like in my Aunt’s case, the only relative you have there is your husband and you both have different schedules. What I find so interesting is that there is no specific law that actually prevents women from driving in Saudi Arabia, but women cannot apply for driver licenses and they are arrested if found behind the wheel.
The law against women driving have severe consequences. In the Article it explains how in earlier this year, a woman reportedly received 150 lashes to the back for being caught driving. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that forbids women from driving. The driving ban has basically forced families to hire live-in drivers for women and women who can’t afford the £200 to £300 a month for a driver must rely on male relatives to drive them to work, school, shopping or the doctor. Some restrictions that might come with this new law are:
Under the recommendations, only women over 30 would be allowed to drive and they would need permission from a male relative – usually a husband or father, but lacking those, a brother or son.
They would be allowed to drive from 7am to 8pm, Saturday to Wednesday and noon to 8pm on Thursday and Friday.
The conditions also require that a woman driver wear conservative dress and no make-up, the official said. Within cities, they can drive without a male relative in the car, but outside of cities, a male is required to be present.