Why Cannot Women in Saudi Arabia Drive?
This question recently became one of the hottest discussion topics in Saudi Arabia. Society is indeed changing very fast and people are open minded more than any other time. Women are asking for their rights, specifically, for the right to drive a car, but people share divided opposite opinions about it (Barmak 2). On my part, I believe that Saudi Arabia women should obtain a right to drive as soon as possible.
Driving in Saudi Arabia has been a nightmare for women in Saudi Arabia (Baker 1). For conservative diehards, women’s driving has been equated with Alamo. This ban shows zeal, with which the kingdom continues to control its subjects with an iron fist. This attitude shows how the government in Saudi Arabia has resisted external pressure from the Western world. It has been reported that women are driving in open deviance to the status quo (Driving campaign for Saudi women challenges custom). The Arab uprising in the Middle East has motivated this new trend in the country. Women are leaving their drivers behind to go and pick their children from schools or to go shopping. Indeed, driving in Saudi Arabia is a dream that is yet to be realized for Saudi women. Moreover, no one will fight for them. Women can take up action as they have demonstrated, and are able to change the situation and overall attitude towards themselves.
From an economic point of view, women can save the money they spend in taxis and personal drivers. When women will start driving by themselves, they will be spending less and saving more, as there will be no need to pay for personal driving services. They can save this money for something of a greater importance or help their husbands to cover living expenses.
In addition, there are thousands of women who have a need to drive. For instance, there are single mothers that need to drive their children to school to make sure that they got there safe, or attend their parents’ meetings at school (Pollitt). There are divorced women who want to stand on their own feet and go to work by themselves, as well as there are daughters who have to take care of their sick parents. There are also many families that can not afford having a personal driver. On the other hand, there has been a concern regarding the process of issuing visas for working drivers in Saudi Arabia. In this country the ruling family has an upper hand in issuing such visas. Indeed, it has become a lucrative business of controlling the black market for issuing visas to such drivers, the price of which can go as high as $ 3,000 per piece (Barmak 4). This a far cry to what most women in Saudi Arabia can afford. Moreover, many women in Saudi Arabia claim that they cannot afford to pay this amount, not mentioning paying a salary of about $600 for a driver.
Some people say that women drivers will cause many traffic jams and car accidents. However, as soon as women start driving, the number of personal drivers will decrease and the government would be supposed to wide up streets in order to avoid traffic jams. However, women who want to drive by themselves should be prepared to attend driving schools to acquire the necessary skills. Indeed, it is surprising that women are more careful and have proven to be better drivers than men.
In conclusion, women in Saudi Arabia continue to be caged in conservative cocoons by the ruling kingdom. Driving is an activity that everyone should be able to enjoy. On the other hand, a great number of women cannot afford to meet the cost of hiring a driver. Indeed, consigning women into such situations is an evil and immoral act and there is an urgent need to deal with it. Saudi Arabian women need freedom, and the sooner they got it, the better their lives would become.
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