Yes, what you just read is true. Women are banned to practice their simple right which is “driving” in Saudi Arabia. What a continuous outrageous situation for Saudi women!
Manal Al-Shareef- 32 years of age- is the Saudi female who was jailed for driving her car in the Eastern province “Al-Khober” in Saudi Arabia. Driving is the simple right granted to all qualified citizens all over the world, so why Saudi women are deprived from that right?
Since Saudi Arabia is governing under Al-Sharia law, Islam doesn’t ban women driving whatsoever. Moreover, Islam gives women all the rights to live independently. On the contrary, Islam bans any individual to be with the opposite sex “who is not related” totally alone. So, why women are with their MALE drivers alone? This is an obvious infringement to Al-Sharia law in which Saudi authorities claim to follow (hypocrisy).
Safety & Security are other issues concerning hiring strangers “drivers”. Instead of moms taking their kids to schools, they are left alone with absolute strangers. Sometimes, kids go shopping or to theme parks with their drivers alone. There is no decisive law against sexual harassments, kidnaps or rapes caused by drivers as police stations have numbers of unresolved cases nationwide. Also, there is no insurance covers the damages caused by drivers- basically Saudi women pay for accidents and damages caused by drivers. Imagine you are paying for someone’s mistakes!
Saudi Arabia is a country with no public transportation such as metros or buses, only high taxicab fares which is not affordable by the majority of Saudi women. The population of Saudi Arabia is 26,131,703 of which 11,807,804 are women (CIA World Factbook). The number of working women in the country, who can afford drivers and cab fares, relatively speaking, is estimated at 10.25% of the overall workforce, according to a report by the United Nations. So, not every woman can afford a driver; add this to the fact of lacking transportation options. Why a rich country like Saudi Arabia has no public transportation?
Roughly, working women take the same amount of travel allowance as working men take, the allowance ranges based on the basic salary. Both pay for gas, service and so one. But, in addition to that, women pay drivers’ salaries, housing and meals. Drivers take nearly SR 1300 to 2000 ~ $ 346 to 533 p/m (housing is not included here). Moreover, there is no law in the country imposes that travel allowance granted to female employees must include drivers’ pay. Are Saudi women richer than Saudi men? Of course not! Where is the social justice?
Is Saudi Arabia really striving for civilization based on equality between its citizens? Do we need social reform to acknowledge women’s rights? I will leave the answers for you…