Stop the suffering of Saudi women who are not allowed to drive

MY neighbor, a widow and mother of several children, is in financial difficulties. She takes care of and provides for her children. She applied for a job at a company and was happy when she was offered a position. However, she was shocked when she learned that the company’s offices were located some 30 kilometers from her home. She searched for a driver that she could afford to take her to work and back, but could not find one. All drivers, Saudis and non-Saudis, charge a lot of money and it would have meant spending over half her salary on transport.

The problem is that one is unable to tell if a driver, Saudi or non-Saudi, is of good character and trustworthy. It is not safe to ride with some drivers over long distances. All of the drivers she contacted wanted a lot of money. Even Careem and Uber charge large amounts. If she had accepted the job, then she would have paid over half of her salary on transport. As a result, she turned the job offer down.

Whose fault is this? Is it the drivers who charge women extortionate amounts of money because they are unable to drive? Does the fault lie with Careem and Uber? Is it the fault of our society? Is the cause the absence of a monitoring system that allows drivers to charge as much money as they want knowing that no one will ask them why?

The real problem is that there are people in our society who do not want women to drive and completely refuse to discuss the idea. They are not bothered about what sort of trouble these women will face. All that they care about is ensuring that women do not drive, no matter what. This is unfair. I want to ask those who oppose women driving why they are against it. Is it because they are financially stable and have drivers who can drive their women around? Is it because the inability of women to drive does not affect their life in any way?

What is the solution to this problem? It is our duty as human beings to find a solution and alleviate the suffering of women who are not allowed to drive.


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