Saudi Women on What the Lifting of the Driving Ban Means to Them
“It feels like a dream come true”.
On 24 June 2018, Saudi Arabia lifted its blanket ban on women drivers. The move is the latest in a series of social and economic reforms that are currently underway in the kingdom.
As part of The Quint’s podcast series, ‘Have Voice Will Talk’, we caught up with five Saudi women to chat about what the lifting of the driving ban means to them.
Hanan Faiz, Yoga Teacher
Hanan Faiz, who refers to herself as ‘Arab Hawaiian Hippie’ , began her career as a nurse. But she quit her nursing job after two years and began travelling around the world, learning and teaching yoga. Listen to her story here.
Halah Alhamrani, Fitness Trainer
Halah Alhamrani is a kickboxer and fitness trainer who co-owns Saudi Arabia’s first female combat gym called ‘FLAGboxing’, where ‘FLAG’ stands for #FightLikeAGirl. Halah is a successful businesswoman, the mother of an 8-year-old, and a social media influencer. Listen to her story here.
Aljazi Alrakan, Dentist and Fashion Blogger
Aljazi started working as a dentist in 2005 but soon realised that her hectic schedule didn’t allow her to pursue her hobbies and interests. Fashion blogging, which was something she used to do in her spare time, soon transformed into a full-fledged business. Listen to her story here.
Rozana Al-Banawi, Leadership Coach
Rozana Al-Banawi is an advisor, trainer, and a leadership coach. She is among the ten women in Saudi Arabia who were issued driving licenses as a precursor to the 24 June lifting of the ban.
Danya Alhamrani, Filmmaker
Danya Alhamrani co-owns Eggdancer Productions, which is Saudi Arabia’s first production house to be legally owned and run by women. Founded in 2006, one of Eggdancer’s first projects was called ‘A Silent Revolution’, a documentary on Saudi women leaders.
The excitement around the lifting of the driving ban was dampened when a number of women’s rights activists were arrested in Saudi Arabia in May. There is definitely more than one side to the debate. While some consider Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to be the spearhead of the reforms, others refuse to see the changes as merely a result of his ‘benevolence’. The latter also pointed out that the arrests are a way of minimising the activists’ role in the changes.
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