Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Nissan Gives Saudi Women Driving Lessons After Country Lifts Ban on Female Drivers

This January 16, 2018 article from AdAge Magazine details a new Nissan campaign to encourage Saudi women to learn to drive. The video is in Arabic with English subtitles. A link to the story and video is here and the story is pasted below. The story is by Alexandra Jardine.

Nissan Middle East is marking the government of Saudi Arabia's recent decision to overturn the ban on women driving cars in its latest campaign in the region.
From June this year, women will be allowed to drive, but according to the documentary-style film from Nissan, many are hesitant because of prejudice against them and fear that their male relatives will disapprove.
The brand and agency TBWA/RAAD took a group of women and offered them a special driving lesson; unbeknownst to them, the instructors were men close to them such as their fathers, brothers and husbands. The video shows their surprise as they meet their relatives, and how their confidence grows as they their first lesson behind the wheel.
Nissan will be sharing the campaign with the hashtag #SheDrives in order to encourage women to apply for their licences.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Women-only Saudi university begins recruiting for driving school

On January 3, 2018, Gulf Business reported that driving instructors are being hired at Riyadh's all-women Princess Nourah University. You can read the story below, and link to it on-line here.
Note: in the story below there are several related links of interest.

Saudi Arabia’s Princess Nourah Bin Abdulrahman University has begun accepting applications for driving instructor positions after confirming plans to setup a school last year.
The university, which is claimed to be the largest institution of its kind for women globally, confirmed plans for the school days after Saudi monarch King Salman announced a decree to allow women to drive from June next year.
Read: Saudi university to set up driving school for women
The driving academy on the university campus will provide both theoretical and practical driving lessons.
General supervisor for media management, Amani Al-Hammad, told Arab News instructor applications are now being accepted through the university website.
Applicants must have a valid driver’s licence and a certified trainer’s permit and be either Saudi or a resident, suggesting the majority will be male.
However, the process is also open to women in Riyadh who have a valid driver’s licence obtained abroad.
Demand for driving lessons is expected to significantly increase this year as women prepare to take to the roads.
Read: Saudi driving schools to accept women from March
Driving schools are expected to begin accepting women from March but many female citizens and residents have already travelled abroad to obtain international licences that can be converted for local use after the June 24 deadline.
Read: Saudi women have spent $3.1m to obtain driving licences abroad
Under recent rule changes from Saudi’s Directorate General of Traffic, drivers must take 30 to 120 hours of lessons before taking a test to obtain a licence.
A survey released in October indicated more than four fifths of women in the kingdom plan to get behind the wheel when the ban is lifted.
Read: Study reveals 82% of Saudi women plan to drive

First Saudi Woman to Run a Gas Station

The Saudi Gazette/Okaz published this story about the first Saudi gas station to be run by a woman, in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province. (January 8, 2018)

By Abdulaziz Al-Rubaie

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

DAMMAM — A Saudi woman is running a gas station making her the first woman to do so in a field that is usually dominated by men.

Mervat Bukhari said she has her office by a gas station where she manages the workers and ensures that all safety procedures are taken.

“My station is on the highway in the Eastern Province. Soon women will start driving and I aim to empower and support women through my business. I plan to have a special lane for women for them to be comfortable,” said Bukhari.

She added that her company does only manage a gas station but also a resort and other facilities.

“I work as the head of the regional media department in an investment group. The group invests in the gas stations. They needed a woman to supervise the service chamber of the gas station. The gas station I am running has a five stars rating. So the group needed someone with experience to run it,” said Bukhari.

She said she has been diligent at supervising the work flow of the station and other facilities such as sports halls and hotel services offices.

“We plan to have women feeling safe at gas stations. We will also build a nearby shopping center to employ more women and provide better services for women as well. Being the first Saudi woman to occupy such a position is definitely an honor and a responsibility that I take seriously,” said Bukhari.

10,000 women to drive taxis in Saudi Arabia

This article (one of many covering this story) is from the Khaleej Times of January 12, 2018. You can link to the story here and the story is pasted in below. I believe it originated with AFP.

All drivers employed by the two firms are male -- mostly Saudi nationals driving their privately-owned vehicles.

Ride hailing applications in Saudi Arabia are preparing to hire Saudi female chauffeurs, months ahead of lifting a ban that prevents women from driving or owning driving licenses in the country, a CNN report said.
The ride hailing applications Uber and Careem recruited their first female drivers in Saudi Arabia, after the Kingdom announced plans to lift the ban on women driving by June 2018.
Female customers currently represent 80 per cent of Uber's Saudi rider base and 70 per cent of business for its Dubai-based counterpart Careem, according to statistics shared with CNN by both companies.
The apps are a lifeline to women with no independent way to get around the Kingdom.
All drivers employed by the two firms are male -- mostly Saudi nationals driving their privately-owned vehicles.
Following the ground-breaking royal decree that announced plans to lift the ban on women driving in September 2017, both companies have been preparing to hire their first female drivers.