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Saudi women, who cannot take the driver’s seat in the conservative kingdom, want to be given driving licenses at home so they can drive abroad, the English daily Arab News reported on Friday.

“I just don’t believe that women shouldn’t have driving licenses because they are not allowed to drive in the Kingdom and that when they go abroad they can hire taxis and like,” interior designer Rufaida Jamal, 24, said. “I just feel I shouldn’t be less than other women in the world.”

Saudi women are banned from driving on all public roads in the kingdom, the world’s largest crude oil exporter.

The no-drive ban, which is forcing a lot of families to hire live-in drivers, could not keep Saudi women, who make up more than 45 percent of the population, from knowing how to get behind the wheel.

“Not being able to drive in the Kingdom shouldn’t be a reason why Saudi women don’t know how to drive,” dentist Fatima Rizq, 26, said.

Saudi females are subject to a guardian system which prohibits any woman from traveling or living independently without written permission from mahram or a male guardian who could be her husband, father or brother.

Some Saudi men threw their weight behind the campaign.

“You never know what might happen,” Mostafa Ali, a 52-year-old father, said.


Saudi women, who are prohibited by society from living or working independently without written permission from a male guardian, will now be part of a first-of-its-kind “women-only” call centre in the country.

Kanoo Travel, one of the leading travel management companies in the Middle East, said 20 female employees have undergone telephone operation training as the company started a “ladies-only” call centre, Xinhua quoted Arab News as saying.

“Kanoo Travel is also one of the first travel companies in the country to introduce exclusive ladies centres,” said Ali Abdullah Kanoo, the company’s director.

The call centre has earned praise from the company’s clients.

Saudi females – who make up to nine million of the kingdom’s 18.5 million people – are subject to a guardian system which prohibits any woman from driving, travelling or living independently without written permission from a male guardian who could be either her husband, father or brother.

Over the years, working as a teacher in girls-only schools was the only job sanctioned for Saudi women, but recently there has been a growing number of Saudi professional women and female doctors.

” Saudi Arabia is a very important market. Over the past few years, our business has grown tremendously in the country,” said another company official, Othman Al-Ghamdi.

Source : The Times of India

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