Shoura & women driving

Shoura & women driving

April 28, 2016
Samar Al-Mogren
Samar Al-Mogren

Samar Mogren

WOMEN driving is an old subject but many citizens across the country still call for this genuine right, which is expected to bring about a revolution in women empowerment, facilitating their movement and increasing their involvement in social and economic activities.

I understand that readers would be a bit disappointed reading about this subject but as a columnist I have to write about it again and again with the hope of convincing the decision-makers to allow Saudi women to drive their vehicles like other women around the world.

We have seen some Shoura members making continuous efforts to raise the issue and press for a resolution to lift the ban on women driving in the country.

Dr. Haya Al-Munie, Dr. Lateefa Al-Shoalan and Dr. Muna Al-Mushait have been campaigning for women to drive for the last three years, raising their voice in the corridors of the Saudi Parliament despite the opposition from some Shoura members.

Last week they called for changing Article 36 of the Traffic Law that specifies the conditions for obtaining driving license in the Kingdom by adding a new paragraph. The text of the new paragraph is “Driving license is the right of both men and women when they fulfill the necessary conditions.”

The three female Shoura members have taken this vital step after conducting necessary studies and taking into consideration the social, economic, cultural and security benefits of women driving. It also goes in line with the country’s Basic Law of Governance.

They have taken up the issue while shouldering their responsibility toward the nation and society and pushing the Shoura Council to instruct the security committee to study the proposal and present it for voting in the 150-member body as the proposal is ready and complete.

The proposal goes hand in hand with the government’s efforts to transform the Kingdom, focusing on human and material resource development, visualizing full and effective participation of women.

Women driving is no more a luxury or an extravagance. Most Saudi women consider the right to drive as a necessity as it would save them from recruiting foreign drivers and its expenditures.

Women driving has become more important than any time before. Actually it is a national and popular demand and the government should take the initiative to realize this objective as quickly as possible without blaming the Shariah or existing regulations for the delay.

I would like take this opportunity to call upon the Shoura Council to give the issue greater priority. It has taken more time than necessary to sanction women to drive. I don’t see any justification for many Shoura members to oppose the idea without giving any genuine reason.

I hope the honorable Shoura members would rise up to the occasion by supporting the proposal to allow women to drive and this would be remembered as a great service to the nation.

I would like to mention here that women driving would not be imposed on everybody. Many people oppose the idea because they are ready to drive their women to their destinations. Women who reject the move can still resort the service of foreign drivers for their movement.

April 28, 2016