Thursday, January 14, 2010

Can They or Can't They? Do They or Don't They?

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive. It's true that Saudi women can't get a driver's license to drive in public on the roads.

However, a few lucky women DO drive. Who are they?

1. The students, staff and faculty of the new university, "KAUST", the King Abdullah University for Science and Technology. Within the campus facility, women can drive.

2. Women within the big city-sized compounds of Saudi Aramco (the government run oil company) can drive. They are issued driving permits within the compounds. Some of these compounds are as big as a large California suburb.

3. Women in rural areas - in tiny villages and among the bedouin - have been driving for decades.

Outside of these areas though, women can't drive.

But do they????? YES! Some women have admitted to dressing up like men in order to get behind the wheel. Also, in emergencies, women have been known to drive. In late November, 2009, devastating floods stranded many motorists and many people were drowned. One young Saudi girl single-handedly saved the lives of people stuck in their cars. See the previous entry for that story.

A Saudi Girl Saves Lives - Despite the Driving Ban

The title of this entry links to an amazing news story about a Saudi girl who saved many people by towing them out of the water during the recent floods in Saudi Arabia. What can we learn from this? Saudi families are teaching their daughters to drive. Out in the desert, or while they are abroad. And what else can we conclude? Saudi girls are brave and courageous.
One more amazing thing? The first name of the courageous driver, Malak, (I think it's pronounced Mal-LAAK) means "Angel". Link on the title to read the story.