Saudi Arabia will have female taxi drivers

As of June 24, the women of Saudi Arabia will be able to practice this profession

Saudi Arabia will have female taxi drivers

In a country where women need the permission of a "mahram" (whether a husband, father, uncle or brother) to do any daily procedure such as opening a bank account, traveling or renting an apartment; It seems normal that something as frequent as seeing a taxi driver woman has generated so much expectation. The ambitious reform plan promoted by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to "modernize" the kingdom contemplates a series of freedoms for women. In 2017, the ban on driving, the only country in the world that prevented it, was lifted in Saudi Arabia, and now the door is opened for women to be able to pursue a new profession.

Leer en español: Arabia Saudí tendrá mujeres taxistas

In Saudi Arabia, only 20% of women work and this measure aims to raise the employment rate to 30% in 2030, according to recent changes that have been introduced in the country giving rise to women. This new law has led to the multiplying of female driving schools in the main cities of the country in a few weeks. These training centers are adapted to the needs of the interested ones, and many of them have agreements with universities so that the driving classes do not interfere with the study schedules of the students. The apprentices are also classified according to their driving level, both theoretical and practical, to offer them a customized program. In addition, Saudi women who have obtained a driver's license abroad can validate it with the one in their country, although they must undergo a prior examination to verify if they need additional training.

General Mohammed bin Abdullah al Basami, director of the Department of Traffic, said in a press release that "there are already women who work by ensuring the safety of the drivers and watching that the rules are fulfilled, such as wearing the belt or not talking on the cell phone. Now with this measure, we intend to diversify their job opportunities." Women will be able to exercise this right both in traditional taxi companies and on the new internet transport platforms. It has also been confirmed that traffic regulations will be applied equally to women and men, eliminating the differences that exist in almost all areas of life in Saudi Arabia.

Curiously, neither this measure nor that of allowing women to drive in 2017 has meant an increase in the sale of vehicles, when the sector expected great results. The 2030 Vision Saudi plan launched by Prince Salman seeks to "put an end to the oil addiction" of the kingdom. Despite being the largest producer and having the largest reserves of crude oil, the heir is aware that Saudi Arabia must begin to diversify its economy, as its neighbors in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have done if they do not want to have problems when the "Black gold" starts to be scarce.

Although small, this is another step in the career of obstacles that the life of a Saudi woman supposes, that is added to the authorization implanted in January so that they can attend football matches, or to the first concert of a woman that took place in Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, at the end of last year.

Latin American Post | José María González Alonso

Translated from "Arabia Saudí tendrá mujeres taxistas"

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