As June approaches, Saudi Arabia is gearing up for what is truly a monumental day. Following the holy month of Ramadan, women across the Kingdom will finally be able to get behind the wheel starting June 24, when the royal decree allowing female motorists to take to the roads comes into effect. In preparation for this day, Saudi Arabia hosted its first women’s car exhibition in Riyadh with the aim of providing special education on driving and vehicle selection to potential drivers.
According to Gulf News, the three-day exhibition, which was dubbed “Pinkish,” drew in thousands of women who came in with family and friends, and who were interested in seeing the vehicles on display, talking to dealers and insurance company representatives, and learning about special offers. Support given by state entities at the event showed official commitment to ensuring success of the much-anticipated move.
Throughout the duration of the exhibition, which was held at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center, many women spent time on simulators to get a feel for the experience of driving, and everyone who came along were catered for as family-centric events were available on site. In addition, the organizers of the event arranged special lessons for attendees on driving skills and how to choose the right car.
According to Saudi Gazette, the official date was announced earlier this month in a statement by General Department of Traffic Director General Maj. Gen. Mohammed Al-Bassami. A number of driving schools for women have already been set up across five cities in Saudi Arabia in a span of just a few months. Al-Bassami explained that women who are 18 years of age and older will be allowed to apply for a driver’s license. In addition, women with foreign driving licenses will be able to apply for a local one through a separate process, which will also assess their driving skills.
In September 2017, the royal decree announced the end of a decades-long ban on women driving and was greeted with excitement across the Kingdom. The move falls under the aims of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia’s ambitious plan to diversify its petroleum-dependent economy, bolster other sectors, provide more job opportunities for youth and women, and modernize its society as a whole.