Sunday, January 23, 2011

Unable to afford drivers, women let underage sons drive

The Arab News reports that some Saudi women who cannot afford drivers, and have no husband, father, brother or older son to drive them, are using their under-age sons as chauffeurs. Some of the women interviewed remain opposed to women gaining driving permits.
You can link to the story from the title of this post.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Saudi women should drive cars: Princess

Link to the title above to read the full story about Princess Rima bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the granddaughter of the Saudi crown prince, who was interviewed by Emirates 24/7. While the title of the article says she made a statement that she is in favor of it, she actually says that King Abdallah has said that women should drive in Saudi Arabia when society is ready. The rest of the article implies that Saudi women are ready for this.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thomas Lippman: Women will be driving legally if not this year, then in the next two years.

Thomas Lippman, former Middle East bureau chief of the Washington Post, spoke about Saudi Arabia's future at the Georgetown's School of Foreign Service in Qatar on 1/10/2011. Lippman has a new book coming out soon: SAUDI ARABIA ON THE EDGE: THE PERILOUS FUTURE OF AN AMERICAN ALLY.  You can read the coverage of his speech by clicking on the link above.

I'm posting about his presentation because it is rare for an American male expert on Saudi Arabia to even address the issue of women driving. They usually try to skate around the issue and say that it's a matter of tradition, and that Saudi society is not ready for this change.

It's refreshing to hear a new melody on the subject coming from someone like Mr. Lippman.

Here is the quote, as per the website,

During his presentation, titled "A Changing Kingdom: Saudi Arabia in 2030," Lippman discussed how the forces of demography and economics in Saudi Arabia will transform the oil-rich country, laying out the predictions that could be made with relative certainty about the country's development over the next generation. He began by talking about the country's expected population growth rate, estimated to slow to 70% as a result of the growing number of women pursuing higher education, delaying marriage and having fewer children, as well as the difficulty of sustaining large families in the current economy.

"In the coming years, we'll see more women entering the workforce," said Lippman, adding, "Women will be driving legally if not this year, then in the next two years."

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Arab News - Dilly-dallying over the issue of women driving?

The 1/8/2011 Arab News includes a story about whether or not the Shoura Council has received the petition signed by 100 signatories in favor of allowing women to drive. One of the signers, journalist Jamal Banoun, expresses his frustration that the issue hasn't appeared on the agenda for upcoming meetings. However, apparently issues raised via petition are sent to one committee and then put on the agenda. Hopefully it will become clear that the issue is on its way to being slated for discussion.

Read the whole article - click on the title of this entry to get there.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Saudi parliament to debate allowing women to drive

Exciting story from Emirates 24/7 quoting the Saudi press that the Kingdom's Shura Council is planning to debate the issue of women driving soon. Click on the title above for the link. This is in response to a petition signed by 100 citizens asking for the ban to be lifted.