Saudi women furious at costs pricing them out of historic chance to drive
Women were banned from the roads in Saudi Arabia up until September last year, when a royal decree declared that females would legally be allowed to own a driving licence.
In the past, women have reportedly been jailed for breaking the cultural code. In July last year, human rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul was arrested outside King Fahd International Airport in Dammam. Al-Hathloul had previously attempted to drive from the United Arab Emirates into Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia will now allow women to join its armed forces https://t.co/PuxuszqVYK— RT UK (@RTUKnews) March 3, 2018
According to local news, a date has now been set for the historic moment in women’s history - June 24 - with General Mohammed al-Bassami, the director of the Department of Traffic, quoted as saying that “all the requirements for women to start driving have been established.”
However, while they may soon be equal in terms of driving law, many have reportedly pointed out the disparity in driving lesson costs between women and men.
Gulf News, an English language newspaper based in Dubai, reports that driving license fees for women could rise to 5,000 Saudi Riyal, the equivalent of around $1,330.
In contrast, men can expect to pay just 450 Saudi Riyal for driving lessons with a teacher, the report adds. Saudi women have since taken to social media to express their fury at the premium they must pay to drive.
“I’m angry at the prices of driving license,” said Twitter user Basmah, who is based in Riyadh.
انا غضبانه على اسعار استخراج رخصة القيادة!! وين #على_حد_سواء وش هالاستغلال والله لو بيعلموني اسوق مكوك اروح فيه للفضاء!!هذا هم السواقين من ديرتهم تجيبونهم ويتدربون بنص الشوارع والدليل ورقة السائق تحت التدريب!!معقوله هالاستغلال اللي عيني عينك وش ذاااا لا من جد ماصارت والله— Basmah 🇸🇦 (@Basmah3333) May 8, 2018
Another described the cost as “very expensive.” “[It] will greatly limit women’s interest in driving the car,” they said.
المبلغ غالي جدا وسيحد كثيرا من إقبال النساء على قيادة السيارة ! الأرخص أن تتدرب في أحد المخططات وتحصل على رخصة خليجية ثم تحولها سعودية !!— Abha (@hizam_elqahtani) May 7, 2018
“Instead of giving satisfaction to the Saudi girls… they raised the driver’s license amounts exponentially,” another social media commenter stated.
بدلاً من ترضية بنات السعودية لأنهم تأخروا في السماح لهن بقيادة السيارة،رفعوا مبالغ رخصة القيادة أضعاف مضاعفة!يكفي أننا نعد آخر بنات العالم سمح لهن بقيادة السيارة!هذا التأخر الذي دفعنا ثمنه لسنوات كلما عرفنا بأنفسنا أننا من السعودية#١٠شوال#قيادة_المرأة#قيادة_المرأة_للسيارة— د. رنا القاضي (@AlKadiRana) May 8, 2018
Amid the online uproar, the Saudi government has promised to look at the price issues.
Dr. Fatima Al Nasrallah, a surgeon based in Riyadh, posted details about the process and how training and theory tests cost her more than 2,500 Saudi Riyal.