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Mon 24 Jun 2019 02:09 PM

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Why many Saudi women are not getting behind the wheel

New research reveals barriers stopping women driving in Saudi Arabia, a year after ban was lifted

Why many Saudi women are not getting behind the wheel
(MOHAMMED ALNEMER/AFP/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

A year after women were first allowed to get driving licences in Saudi Arabia, new research reveals that a lack of driving knowledge is the biggest reason stopping Saudi women from getting behind the wheel.

The YouGov research comes as around 70,000 licences have been issued to women in Saudi Arabia, with several driving schools opening since the ban was lifted last year.

On the first year anniversary of this milestone, YouGov asked Saudi women who have not applied for a licence what the biggest barriers are to them in doing so.

Not knowing how to drive is the biggest. A higher proportion of women now state this as a factor (35 percent) compared to 24 percent last year when they were first interviewed.

Other reasons included a fear of car accidents (23 percent compared to 27 percent last year) and low confidence among women in their driving skills (21 percent compared to 20 percent).

There has also been a notable fall in the proportion of women saying that their husbands’ or family members’ objection is stopping them from driving (from 23 percent in 2018 to 16 percent).

The number of women saying they don’t need to drive because they have drivers is almost the same, while those saying the same due to fear of harassment by male drivers declined from 10 percent to 6 percent.

Those women who said they fear being judged by the Saudi society also fell from 4 percent to 1 percent over the past year.

Data for the survey was collected online by YouGov Omnibus among 400 female respondents in Saudi Arabia in August 2018 and June 2019.

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