JEDDAH — Many Saudis celebrated the historic day when Saudi Arabia began issuing its first driving licenses to women on Monday.
“Ten Saudi women made history on Monday when they were issued driving licenses,” said the Information Ministry’s Center for International Communication (CIC).
“Expectations are that next week an additional 2,000 women will join the ranks of licensed drivers in the Kingdom.”
The video of the first Saudi woman Ahlam Al-Thenayan receiving her driving license at the General Directorate of Traffic went viral on social media.
Esraa Al-Batti expressed joy on Twitter and said it was “an indescribable feeling of happiness.”
Hanadi Alsunaid said she’s “looking forward to drive in her own country and go to work by herself, thanking the leadership for continuously empowering women.”
Wafa Mohammed Humaid enthusiastically shared her new ID calling it a historic day and is waiting for the next historic moment when women start to drive in the Kingdom.
Rema Jawdat said it was an exceptional day for her receiving her driving license and posted, “Finally, it’s a dream come true.”
Commenting on the number one trending news on Twitter, media personality and writer Nawal Al-Jabr told Saudi Gazette that she plans to enroll in a driving school and learn how to drive.
“The royal decree allowing women to drive aims at reinforcing the Saudi woman’s status and position in society and enabling her to be an independent and productive citizen enjoying all her rights,” said Al-Jabr, a full-time working manager who lives with her husband and son.
Fatima Al-Zahrani, a medical student, said, “I’ve been driving for almost eight years now in Canada or whenever I travel to other countries and I like the independence and the ability to explore. Although there are some benefits to having a driver especially after an overnight shift, not everyone can afford to have a driver.”
Writer and analyst Dr. Abdulmajeed Al-Jallal said, “Finally, Saudi women’s dreams have come true and turned into a wonderful reality during the era of King Salman. I congratulate the women and the future looks bright for them!”
In a poll of some 350 respondents about their plans for driving, around 37 percent said they are eager to join a driving school to learn driving while others said they either have an international driving license or don’t wish to drive.
The Ministry of Interior has created a specific website (www.sdlp.sa) for Saudis and expats to register for the issuance and replacement of licenses.
“Dear sister, you need to register in Abshir to benefit from all services,” says the portal asking users to apply online through Abhsir for the replacement or issuance of licenses.