Sunday, April 17, 2011

Women drivers - Arab News Letters to the Editor

On April 16th and 17th, two letters to the editor of the Arab News weighed in on the issue of Saudi women driving.

First, we have one Mohammed Abdul Majid writing from Hyderabad, India. Mr. Abdul Majid thinks the current situation is preferable to what would happen if Saudi women were permitted to drive. These are many of the same arguments that have been given over the years. I was just going to link to it, but am posting it here so you can read the first letter and then the response.

It is very clear from the response of the Saudi women quoted in the report that most of them don’t want to risk their lives by taking to the roads. Having chauffeurs or the so-called “sawwak khaas” or what we call an all-time house driver, makes it more convenient for them to go out, anywhere at any time.

Just imagine how the situation would be, if we have women drivers:
— We will have to have lady police personnel at all the checkpoints of the country to check the lady drivers in case of any suspicion as some ladies cover their faces at all times.
— We will have to have lady instructors at car driving schools and lady inspectors at license issuing departments.
— If ladies are given driving licenses, there could be a sharp increase in the number of accidents.
— It would be a big risk for a pregnant woman to drive.
— Already the capacity of roads is not enough to cope with the increasing number of vehicles in the Kingdom. If licenses are issued to women, obviously we would see an increase in the number of cars being purchased and that would create new problems.
So in my opinion we should follow the advice of religious leaders in this respect and your report makes it clear that Saudi women are not keen on driving. So let the situation continue as it is.

Link to Mohammed's letter

Alwee H. Attas of Jeddah responds....

After reading Mohammed Abdul Majid’s letter about women driving or not driving in Saudi Arabia (April16), I concluded that women are the major cause of traffic accidents in the Indian city of Hyderabad.

So he should launch a campaign to have a ban imposed on women driving in his country.
We in the Kingdom have many women who are unemployed, and by allowing women to drive, we could create job opportunities for our women, or is Abdul Majid against the very idea of women working? The number of Saudi women not wanting to drive can be counted in fingers. A majority seeks to drive but somebody living in Hyderabad seems to know more about our women than us.

Link to Alwee's letter

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