Aside

The Asian Age - - News+ -

Kho­bar, Saudi Ara­bia: Hunched over plat­ters of dates and Ara­bic cof­fee, Saudi women rar­ing to drive once a govern­ment ban ends next June signed up for an­other rev­o­lu­tion — to be the king­dom’s first fe­male cab driv­ers.

King Sal­man last month de­creed that women will be al­lowed driv­ing per­mits, a his­toric re­form that could put not just mil­lions of women be­hind the wheel but po­ten­tially many more into the work­force.

Sens­ing a lu­cra­tive op­por­tu­nity, ride-hail­ing com­pany Ca­reem says it plans to hire up to 100,000 fe­male chauf­fers to lure new clients in the gen­der-seg­re­gated king­dom.

This week, the com­pany in­vited AFP to its first re­cruit­ment ses­sion in the coastal city of Kho­bar, which at­tracted a di­verse crowd — from housewives to work­ing women — who al­ready have for­eign driv­ing li­cences.

“For years I felt help­less. My car would be parked out­side and I could not drive,” said Nawal al-Jab­bar, a 50-year-old mother of three, sip­ping cof­fee from a thim­ble­sized cup.

A cho­rus of hoots and claps erupted in the au­di­to­rium as the women, who learned about the re­cruit­ment by word-of-mouth, watched news footage on a

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