Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Day Came

It has been two weeks and two days since the royal decree was issued to allow women to get driver's licenses in Saudi Arabia next year. It seemed for so long, that the day would never come. And then it did. I was out of the country, without my laptop. An American friend posted the story on facebook and tagged me. It took me by surprise, yet it was, and is, glorious news.  For eight years, I've been posting stories and opinion pieces about the issues surrounding women driving in Saudi Arabia. There were weeks when there was no news. The issue seemed to fade into the background. Yet, from my own years living in Saudi Arabia, I knew that the frustrations of Saudi women continued, as they tried to carry on their daily lives with the added hurdle of transportation.

And then it happened. I always wondered what it would be like. Would women take to the streets right away? No, they did not. Would there be wide protests? No, there were not. Saudi society is absorbing this change. The first driving school for women is said to be underway. Authorities are planning the implementation of the law. Women are choosing their first cars, and the auto industry is no doubt celebrating at the new market they can sell to in the Kingdom.

As for this blog, it moves into a new stage of tracking how the implementation of the law will happen. I am particularly fascinated to see how women's added independent mobility will change daily life there. I will keep posting stories on this, as well as opinion pieces from various points of view.

Congratulations to all those who fought for this change, and to all their supporters behind the scenes. I congratulate those who spoke up for women driving at all levels of society, and to the brave men who supported the women they know in their quest for this privilege.

Sometimes the end of a great endeavor ends quietly. I think the end of this particular endeavor is actually the beginning of a more fruitful and fulfilling era for all in Saudi Arabia.

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