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Bahraini women gear up for Saudi drive

Bahrain News
Sun, 24 Jun 2018

Manama: More than 30 women from Bahrain will drive across the border today to congratulate their counterparts in Saudi Arabia on the lifting of the ban on women driving.

The trip is being organised by Yalla Banat, a Bahrain-based initiative focused on women empowerment in the region.

The group will meet 40 Saudi women to congratulate them on the great step their country has taken and discuss future plans of co-operation.

Yalla Banat will also be conducting training courses in driving in co-ordination with some of the universities in Jeddah and Riyadh in September.

Women will hit the roads in Saudi Arabia today with the lifting of the world’s last ban on female drivers. The move, ordered last September by King Salman, is part of sweeping reforms pushed by his son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who aims to transform the economy of the world’s top oil exporter and open up its society.

“We are ready, and it will totally change our life,” said Samira Al Ghamdi, a 47-year-old psychologist from Jeddah, one of the first Saudi women to be issued with a driving licence.

The Interior Ministry plans to hire women traffic police for the first time, but it is unclear when they will be deployed.

Car companies have seized the moment with theatrical adverts marking the end of the ban and private parking garages designated “ladies” areas with pink signage. Social media is also celebrating with tweets like #You_Will_Drive_and_the_People_Are_With_You.

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