RIYADH : Saudi women hit the road soaring with a vengeance.They steered their cars through bust streets for the first time on Sunday after the world's last remaining ban on women driving was lifted.

It's a historic moment for women who had to rely on their husbands, fathers, brothers and drivers to run basic errands, get to work, visit friends or even drop kids off at school. The ban had relegated women on the backseat, restricting when and how they move around.

But after midnight on Sunday, Saudi women finally joined women around the world in being able to get behind the wheel of a car and simply drive.

''I'm speechless. I am so excited it's actually happening. ,'' said Hessah al-Ajaji, who drove her family Lexus down the capital's busy  Tahlia street after midnight.

Al-Ajaji had  a   US  driver's license before obtaining a  Saudi one and appeared comfortable at the wheel as she pulled up and parked. As for the male drivers on the road, ''they we're really supportive and cheering and smiling,'' she said.

In few hours, she says she'll driver herself to work for the first time in Saudi Arabia.

For nearly three decades, outspoken Saudi women and the men who supported them had called for women to have the right to drive. They faced arrest for defying the ban even as women in other conservative Muslim countries drove freely.

In 1990, during the first driving campaign by activists,  women who drove in the capital, Riyadh,  lost their jobs,  faced severe stigmatization and were barred from travel abroad for a year.

Ultraconservatives in  Saudi Arabia had long warned that allowing women to drive would lead to sin and expose women to harassment with up to five years in prison for the most severe cases.

Criticism against women driving has largely been muted since  King Salman announced the lifting of ban last year.

The honor and serving of the latest  Operational Research on *Progress and Advancement for Women * continues to Part 2.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!