Saudi Arabia’s next revolution: Female taxi drivers
projector screen of last month’s royal decree.
An instructor stood next to the screen, holding up a smartphone to show the inner workings of the app.
The firm plans to add a new “Captinah” button to the app next June that would allow customers to choose women chauffeurs.
Around 30 women registered for the event in Khobar. Many arrived unaccompanied by men, something not commonly seen in a country where male “guardians” have arbitrary authority to make crucial decisions on behalf of women.
This is a rite of passage for women,” said Sarah Algwaiz, director of the women chauffeurs program at Careem, referring to the reform.
“For women to drive their own cars signals autonomy, mobility and financial independence.”
The Gulf kingdom was the only country in the world to ban women from taking the wheel, and it was seen globally as a symbol of repression.
The lifting of the driving ban has been widely credited to 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who styles himself as a moderniser in the conservative kingdom, where more than half the population is aged under 25.
Prince Mohammed has cracked down on dissent while also showing a rare willingness to tackle entrenched Saudi taboos such as promoting more women in the workforce.