Women receive designated parking spots ahead of the driving ban being lifter in Saudi Arabia
25 June 2018| Last updated on 26 June 2018
Pink women-only parking bays have been appearing across Saudi Arabia over the last couple of weeks in preparation of the ban on women driving being lifted in the Kingdom. Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman issued a royal decree on September 27th, 2017 making it legal for women to drive in Saudi Arabia. The crown prince created a ministerial body and gave them nine months to prepare everything for women to start driving.
On June 24th, 2018 the ban was finally lifted and women excitedly started their engines and pulled out from 12 midnight already! The first women who ventured into the streets behind the steering wheel were congratulated with flowers from the police.
Allowing women to drive is part of Saudi’s Vision 2030. It is predicted that allowing women to drive in the Kingdom will help boost the country’s economy as more women will be able to work and also receive more lucrative work opportunities. This, in turn, will help increase household incomes and help improve the lives of residents.
New sexual harassment laws have been implemented and the pink women-only parking bays have been set up in an attempt to make it easier for women to drive as well as to encourage more women, and ultimately their guardians, that women should drive.
Residents in the country will save millions of riyals when women can drive themselves and don’t have to pay a driver’s salary anymore. Unfortunately, the majority of women in Saudi Arabia don’t have licenses yet and in a recent poll, a quarter of participants said that they will not allow women in their lives to drive. Some Saudi women also don’t have a desire to drive and will rather have a driver than drive themselves. Unfortunately, even though women are legally allowed to drive and don’t need a guardian to be able to purchase a car or apply for their licence, they often still need assistance from their guardian.
Women who are fortunate enough to be allowed to drive, but haven’t got a licence will still need to wait a while before they’ll be able to drive. Most driving schools already have a waiting list of several months and can be very costly.
Saudi Arabia has thelargest automobile market in the Middle East and they are now positioning themselves to target the new market of women in Saudi Arabia. Saleswomen are being placed on showroom floors and advertisement is specifically aimed at women. Car sales in the Kingdom are expected to increase between 6 – 10 percent now that women are allowed to drive.