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Women and the right to drive in Saudi Arabia

 
 
Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2011 08:19 am
Quote:
Amid the tumult of the Middle East's so-called Arab Spring, Saudi women have been quietly agitating for something most Westerners older than sixteen take for granted: the right to drive. Several women, organizing via Facebook and Twitter, got behind the wheel last June in a public protest. A few were arrested and otherwise harassed, but the campaign continues on the Internet and has recently included calls for automakers -- namely Subaru -- to stop selling cars in a country where not all are allowed to drive them.

We spoke on the phone with Aziza al-Yousef, a fifty-two-year-old college professor who has both an international license and an (expired) American license but drove her Toyota Avalon in Saudi Arabia for the first time this summer, and to her thirty-year-old daughter Sara al-Haidar, who rode in the passenger's seat with a camera.


To read the short interview:
http://www.automobilemag.com/features/news/1110_drive_for_equality/index.html#ixzz1affzvJmv

The king of Saudi Arabia has claimed to put in the process of allowing to give women the right to vote, amongst other reforms in a slow and deliberate reform movement but since these so called reforms may or may not happen in the coming years, will it be too much to think women will get the right to vote sometime this decade?

What do women have to do to get these life changing civil rights? Reenact the Aristophanes play, Lysistrata? A sexual revolution in the Middle East? Etc...?
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2011 11:01 am
@tsarstepan,
I was between exits on an overpass a few weeks back, and a car load of such women who never learned to drive in their land, put on their turn signal, and moved over right in front of me while slowing down as I was speeding up, trying to make the red light before the on ramp... I missed them by inches, and they turned and then tried to move over and let me pass, which I was eager to do because I had cars behind me, and, they had braked all through their turn and hit the on ramp at about ten miles per.... All this time my wife is yelling at me because she thinks I am in road rage mode, and the fact was that I knew what I was dealing with as soon as I saw the ninjas in the back seat... I just wanted by them, and a chance to let those behind me get past the hazzard too...

I saw two of them try to parallel park once while building a story job.. They finally left the vehicle half into the slot and half in the street, and that is with one inside, and one outside the car giving directions... I know... The idea of four wheels pointed roughly in the same direction moving the car perpendicularly to that direction does seem daunting, if you think about it... But if you just do it like you have been doing it all your life when you only learned to drive at thirty five when coming to America, then it isn't so bad... The worst drivers always learn too late, and since it never becomes unconscious, it is always attrocious...
roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2011 04:16 pm
@Fido,
I suppose your point is that people that never learned to drive are usually bad drivers.

Makes sense to me.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2011 04:28 pm
@roger,
Driving can be taught with appropriate classes. Most of us learned in our teens, but learning is possible past that. Driving cultures vary. I never did drive in Rome in heavy and, to me, very weaving traffic, I'da had major fits and caused implosions because people couldn't have trusted me, but I could do the highways and byways comfortably. My take at the time was that italians had a fine sense of how close you could get, how you can maneuver; they brake well. I only saw one accident (bumper thing) in my months there and almost no banged up cars (bella figura, you know). The same with being a pedestrian - behave in a trustworthy way and they can gauge your maneuvers.

I was, at least then, an excellent driver, but I was newly in a different place.

I remember friends rolling laughing about asian immigrant drivers in Orange County, CA - I'd like to see those friends drive in asians cities.

So, what's the point, Roger and Fido, never let adult women who have never driven drive?
High Seas
 
  3  
Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2011 04:43 pm
@tsarstepan,
You can't have driven in Saudi Arabia for one minute if you think women (and anybody else fortunate enough to have a driver) aren't happier sitting on the back seat of a car. I never went to Saudi driving school - doubt there is one, people just buy cars for their kids and let them loose on the unsuspecting populace - but I've observed 3 unbreakable traffic rules:

1. Camels have absolute priority over all other traffic - if the camel wants to stop, step backwards, sideways, sit down and take a nap, or whatever, that's YOUR problem, not the camel's.
2. Always drive at top speed through red lights wherever these are available - criminals may be lurking by the traffic light to kidnap fool tourists, these of course being the only folks ignorant enough to stop on red.
3. Always do a rolling stop on green because of rule 2 above.

Amazingly there aren't many accidents. I don't know why.

However there are many women pilots, as nobody thought to bar them from flying planes, so it kind of all comes out in the wash Smile
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2011 06:44 pm
@ossobuco,
Your interpretation of whatever I say seems highly dependent on what you are predisposed to believe. If that's anyone's problem, it isn't mine.
edgarblythe
 
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Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2011 07:00 pm
The women have lived in that environment their whole lives. Who better than they to judge whether they ought to drive?
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2011 07:35 pm
@roger,
So I need to interpret what you said to Fido?

If you meant that as sardonic, it pushed the edge.

You're just lucky you know me, who gets sardonic.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Oct, 2011 04:41 am
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:

The women have lived in that environment their whole lives. Who better than they to judge whether they ought to drive?
When one of the Wright brothers pointed out how difficult it would be to fly because of the multitude of tasks involved; the other reasoned that people learn how to ride bicycles though that is by no means a easy undertaking... I would say that riding bicycles is easy for the young because they have no good sense of what they are risking to do so... I knew a man raised without driving, from Jamaica, who was equally terrible at driving a fork lift or a car in the parking lot though he always drove with the pride and hautiness of a king on a litter... The level of comfort reached was never that of even the most backward child behind the wheel who could not be seen to do it without doing so unconsciously... Granted that too many of all ages drive unconsciously, still there is much to be said for that level of comfort older drivers in learning to drive never achieve... Because the task is so daunting and marvelous, dangerous and exciting, they are trapped in a daze, like a falling person unable to appreciate the moment of terror...
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Oct, 2013 09:58 am
Support Pours In For Saudi Women Poised To Break Driving Ban
On Oct. 26, thousands of Saudi women have said they will break their county’s ban on female drivers.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/sheerafrenkel/support-pours-in-for-saudi-women-poised-to-break-driving-ban
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Tue 26 Jun, 2018 09:56 am
@tsarstepan,
Pretty big thread update!
Saudi Arabia Lifts Ban On Female Drivers
glitterbag
 
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Reply Thu 17 Jan, 2019 11:17 am
@tsarstepan,
Unfortunately, some of the women who lobbied for the right to drive have been detained. I haven't checked on their status, but I hope they are not being mistreated or harmed.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Feb, 2019 12:01 pm
@glitterbag,
Concern Grows For Loujain Al-Hathloul, Jailed Saudi Women's Driving Activist
https://i.imgur.com/10ABqFR.jpg
0 Replies
 
 

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