Sunday, May 14, 2017

Teach Your Daughters How to Drive

This opinion piece by Maha Al-Shehri appeared in the Saudi Arabic daily Okaz and was translated and printed in the English daily Saudi Gazette on May 14, 2017. A link to the story can be found here,  and the text is below.

By Maha Al-Shehri
SEVERAL incidents of women being saviors or heroes, especially when their men developed sudden health problems while behind the wheel, have been reported in the media.

Recently a female university student became the hero when she rose to the occasion and took the wheel after the driver of her university bus fainted. Ashwaq Al-Shamri of Hail University took the bus and the driver to safety. The news of the incident was widely circulated on social media.

The female student was able to avert an accident and save the bus driver by driving him to hospital because she had learned driving despite the ban on women driving existing in the country.

There is no legal basis for preventing women from driving but the Kingdom has so far failed to allow its female citizens to exercise this legitimate right.

I believe that every woman should learn driving as a skill even if she does not own a vehicle or may not obtain a driving license in the near future. We have seen men learning cooking even though they do not cook on a daily basis.

The mastering of a skill will enable us to use it whenever a need arises. It will help us deal with various life situations boldly and efficiently.

It is high time that we overcome the mentality that women are incapable and inferior beings. We have limited women’s roles treating them as weak despite their capabilities, aptitude and decision-making prowess.

People have to recognize that women are no less than men in terms of qualifications and efficiency. Women are partners of men in every walk of life.

Even while considering women as mentors of new generations and protectors of families, some of us wrongly believe that they are incompetent in most matters, which they think are reserved for men.
In a nutshell, we should teach our women how to drive for the sake of themselves and others. A situation may arise at any point of our life where we will not find anyone except women as saviors as has occurred in the case of the Hail bus driver.

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