Saudi women against driving say it would risk family, social fabric, security

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Not all Saudi women are in favour of gaining the right to drive, with a group of females arguing it would put the social fabric, family values and security at risk, as well as increase traffic and crime.

In a letter drafted to the Royal Diwan, the women claim that if they were allowed to drive it would violate the kingdom’s public order and scholars’ fatwas and go against religious sentiments, Arab News reported.

Their arguments are in stark contrast to other women in the kingdom whose public protests, including defying the religious police by driving in Riyadh, have gained momentum.

There is no law banning women from driving but it has long been engrained in the kingdom’s culture and is fiercely monitored by the informal religious police.

Three female members of the Shoura Council, which advises the Saudi government, have filed a recommendation urging the body to “recognise the rights of women to drive a car in accordance with the principles of Shariah and traffic rules”.

A group of activists also is calling on women to defy the ban and get behind the wheel in a day of protest on October 26. Their social media campaign has reportedly attracted 15,000 supporters of both genders.

However, women opposed to lifting the ban say all they need is public transport.

Activist Rawdah Yousef, who supports the letter, said in a post on the internet that allowing women to drive would be “a disastrous move” because it would take them away from their families.

Allowing more drivers on the road would increase traffic accidents, change a woman’s role, threaten family stability, and affect crime because men would have more opportunity to cover their faces with a veil while fleeing from the scene, the letter reportedly says.

Yousef said the female Shoura Council members in favour of women driving should focus on other issues such as the right to work, housing and insurance.

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Posted by: Kay

Saudi women have been driving in rural areas for years, with no problems at all. So far, the women who have been driving in the cities lately have not been harrassed. Women are more cautious and careful drivers. If they are on the roads, they will literally slow down the traffic. The wild male drivers will be blocked and slowed down. Inserting women into the equation will help, not hurt. Also, no one is going to force any women to drive. Like many advances in Saudi society, this one, once permitted, will happen one family at a time. It will take the leaders of society to start it. Then the people will follow. Finally, economically it will be so good for Saudi Arabia to send the thousands of foreign drivers home. The families will be able to spend on other things, helping to boost a more diverse economy. It's a win-win move for the Kingdom.

Posted by: Zack

I am so sorry, but I really don't agree that women in Saudi Arabia drive. I don't believe in fatwa or what so ever about driving, I am a Saudi and very liberal, but sisters it's too late now. You really can't have control on boys driving and every day we end up with lots of accidents, just imagine women driving along with those crazy boys sorry to say that, but this is a fact. Sorry you are not ready at all, first you need to go to the GYM for many years to get strong muscles to change a flat tire!!!!! I am so serious, it will look ugly very ugly. Sorry ladies not in Saudi Arabia. I would very much be happy to support you if you are going to use it only and only for emergency cases, for example taking one of the family members to the hospital that would make sense.
Good luck

Posted by: Paolo C

Good thing you define yourself a liberal. Let's turn the cake around. If you boys are bad drivers, then let only the women drive and prohibite men to drive. Then let's go look at the statistics. I suggest you buy yourself a new calender.

Posted by: jay

WOW what a statement from women who clearly do themselves a disservice
there is nothing in Islam or law stopping them driving yet the male dominated law makers prevent it
this is a basic human right and has not caused the issues in any other islamic country anywhere
wake up and smell the coffee women are entitled to drive if they want to the law doesnt stop them or religeon but small mined government does this festers dissent and protest

Posted by: Howdy Arabia

You are creating your own issues. Women driving wouldnt affect anything. Nothing, zero, zilch. It's all in your mind and the negativity associated with driving is something that is force spoonfed to you from birth. Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle will not collapse the solar system. Get a grip. Man, this region is full of drama queens. No offense but the most successful countries in every sense of the word "success" allow their women to drive. You want to "not be away from your families" then spend more time with your children and not your nannies. I walk through malls and mothers in abayas and niqabs hardly even glance in their kids directions while the nannies act as the mothers, so don't tell me that it would take you away from your families. Drive or don't drive, no one cares but those that want to, should have the right to. Time to end this mentality of masculine custody of women and lack of basic human rights in KSA towards women. Not all but enough for concern.

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