Your faithful blogger somehow missed this article and video when it was published in October, 2016 by al-Arabiyya. Note the subject is covering her face with fabric to retain some privacy, but since she is filmed with her husband and her voice is not disguised, no doubt her family knows she was filmed driving and it's socially accepted among the people living in the desert. The article, including a link to the video of her interview in Arabic is pasted in below and a link to the article is here.
Despite popular beliefs, many women in Saudi Arabia drive their cars
in order to run errands and get from place to place. (Al Arabiya)
Mohammed al-Harbi, AlArabiya.netTuesday, 18 October 2016
She does not own a driver’s license, but that is no obstacle for
Wazna, who has been driving her truck in the open desert of al-Dahna
ever since she was a child.
She has been
driving for such a long time that she knows the entry and exit points of
al-Dahna desert more than her male counterparts.
But Wazna is not alone.
Despite popular beliefs, many women in Saudi Arabia drive their cars in order to run errands and get from place to place.
One woman whom AlArabiya.net spoke to, but
refused to have her photograph taken, said: “I drive a pick-up truck not
for any specific reasons but simply helps me get my daily chores done,
like getting water tanks delivered from their source to our home.”
Saudi Arabia, no penal code exists that explicitly states that women
are forbidden from driving. The government simply does not issue any
licenses to women, who mostly rely on personal male drivers or relatives
to get around.
The Gulf News reports on the impassioned argument by Dr. Latifa Al Shaalan, a female member of the Shura Council in favor of women driving. A link to the story is here, and the text is below. The speaker is an associate professor of Psychology, and addresses the many contradictory and challenging issues surrounding the question of women driving. This blogger believes her voice, being raised in this forum, is significant.
Women members of the Saudi Shura Council
Manama: A female member of the Saudi Shura (Consultative) Council has
issued a strong appeal to allow women to drive, saying that it was a
right that cannot be denied on religious, social or economic grounds.
a council session, Dr Latifa Al Shaalan said the claim that “the time
is not appropriate yet to allow women to drive as the country is facing
internal and external challenges” was not true or valid.
been facing internal and external challenges since the state was founded
by King Abdul Aziz, and if we look carefully at our history in the last
50 years, we will say, according to this logic, that no time was ever
appropriate to allow women to drive since we are always in the midst of a
tumultuous ocean of challenges,” she said, quoted by Saudi daily Okaz
Saudi Arabia is a vast and influential country with
great political weight located in a sweltering region, and it is normal
that it faces numerous challenges, she added.
challenges cannot stall reforms and if we embrace their distorted logic,
then development, reforms and progress in all areas would have stopped
since the existence of challenges makes the time for them
inappropriate,” she said.
Al Shaalan, a writer and an associate professor of psychology, also
refuted the claim that society was not ready to accept the idea of women
“It is incredible how some people demonised Saudi
men and considered him a beast always ready to jump on women. This
prejudice has been repeated so often that it has become a label
characterising Saudi men wherever they go in Saudi Arabia or abroad. It
is an unfair characterisation because Saudi men carry in them and with
them genuine Islamic morals and Arab values. The young people that we
rush to discredit and turn into demons are in fact our sons who grew up
in our homes and graduated from our schools. They often competed in
serving people honestly and protecting our national borders. There are
of course exceptions, but these are deterred by the law,” she said.
The claim that Saudi society is different from other societies is unacceptable and offensive, she added.
is the society in Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, Iran and Pakistan safe and
allows its women to drive, while our Saudi society with all its great
values not safe? The allegation that our society is not ready for women
drivers is not supported by the reality on the ground. Our society has
accepted the various reforms, such as the membership of women in the
Shura Council and the holding of municipal elections. Our society is
mature and the political authority is strong, stable and determined to
deter those who break the public order,” she said.
The allegation that allowing women to drive was not a priority for the country was a fallacious argument, Al Shaalan said.
claim has opened the door for a wide array of erroneous assertion, as
if allowing women to drive would prevent addressing other issues such as
unemployment and housing. Rights cannot be categorised by priorities
because nobody has the right to decide the scale of priorities which
differ vastly depending on their conditions. What is a priority for some
is not necessarily a priority for others.”
The Shura member said that not allowing women to drive has caused them great harm and stalled their rights and interests.
is totally unfair because one of the major aims of Islam is to ensure
justice for all. Islam has asserted equality between men and women in
the origin of creation, responsibilities and tasks. Islam has asserted
equality in human dignity and civil rights, such as choosing the spouse,
ownership, and all kinds of selling and purchasing transactions. How is
it possible that after all these advantages granted by Islam, women are
not allowed to drive?”
Al Shaalan argued that allowing women to
drive would be beneficial for the national economy and would empower
women economically, especially that unemployment rates among women were
“The fact that women cannot move easily is a formidable
obstacle to them getting jobs, especially in the private sector,” she