Saudi women took on the wheel for the first time in the Islamic country, steering through the busy streets in their cities soon after the world’s last remaining ban on female driving was lifted on Sunday.
As soon as the ban on female driving was lifted by the Kingdom, the women of Saudi Arabia joined the ladies around the world to get behind the wheel of a car and drive their way out to new a freedom.
“I’m speechless. I’m so excited it’s actually happening. I just can’t wait to drive to my office for the first time in Saudi Arabia,” said Hessah al-Ajaji, who already owns a US driving license and recently obtained a Saudi one recently.
Like Hessah, there were hundreds of excited Saudi women who drove their family members across Riyad after the ban was lifted on Sunday at midnight.
“It feels weird, I am so happy ... I’m just too proud to be doing this right now,” said 23-year-old Majdooleen al-Ateeq as she cruised her black Lexus down the capital’s busy streets for the first time in the deeply-conservative Kingdom.
In a historic decision, Saudi King Salman had announced in September 2017 that the ban on female driving will be lifted and women of the kingdom would be able to drive from June 2018.
The decision to lift the ban was part of the extensive reforms advocated by Saudi’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to open up the otherwise sequestered society of the world’s top oil exporter country.
To address the concerns that women drivers may face harassment, the Kingdom brought a new anti-harassment law in May 2018. The strict segregation rules are already in place in Saudi that prevents women from interacting with unknown men. The Saudi government also plans to hire women traffic police officers for the first time to deal with female drivers.