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The upcoming daysof shawaal (June 24, 2018)bears a that touches the imagination of Saudi women particularly, and the Saudi people in general. In the 10thof this month, Saudi women began to exercise another one of their rights, guaranteed to them by the Saudi authorities, as their other rights, which is the right to drive cars. Such day is considered as an important opportunity to reflect the efforts exerted by the virtuous government and continuing to exert to support women’s progress and meet their basic demands and their renewed needs in their society, also calling for accelerating the proposed efforts and ideas that are circulating to further support Saudi women’s issues in a way that does not contradict with their identity or nature.
Obviously, the important changes introduced by the official institutions and civil authorities to pave the way and fully prepare for the decision of women driving to be received on the actual ground, which all testify its professionalism and full preparation. It is also clear that the high degree of responsibility and awareness that was inherent to most segments of society after the start of implementing the decision. All of this serve as best evidence of the ability of Saudi society to keep up with any new decision that is in its interest, and deal with it with a great responsibility and awareness.Similarly, it has been proven to all that Saudi women are fit for this decision because of their sufficient confidence and consciousness, which undermines all previous speculation that questioned about their ability to bear the consequences of the decision or deal with it while equipped with the required consciousness and responsibility.
Some may imagine the right to drive a car for Saudi women and the successive celebrations among Saudis after implementation of the decision are nothing more than an exaggeration, considering that all countries have preceded us in implementing it. But in fact, when closely considering the social problems resulting from women’s inability to drive, in addition to the economic problems that is the result of many Saudi families being forced to deduct a considerable portion of their income to bear the large and excessive expenses of the recruitment, accommodation and employment of a driver for the family, Which might strengthen their financial capabilities, one can fully recognize the true meaning of this well-deserved celebration for the issuance of this historic decision for Saudi families in general.
As for the economic positive results that must be mentioned from this decision are, that the empowering the working women with proven abilities to drive a car will help them to reach their workplace comfortably, which will then lead to increase of Saudi women entering the labor market, and seeking training and education. This will increase women’s participation in the labor market and will also result in increased need of providing more work opportunities for women and the increase of their productivity and participation in the society.
In addition, the low usage of transport companies and taxis, which results from the decrease of women’s demand for such services, will lead to the reduction of fees for these services, which in turn would be in the interest of the remaining users of such services. The decline in the ratio of family drivers will lead to a decrease in the value of foreign remittances, which will benefit the Saudi economy in general. Number of drivers in Saudi Arabia is estimated to be more than one and a half million drivers, and with costs that could exceed one thousand and five hundred riyals per month per driver, which means these costs combined would amount to twenty seven billion riyals annually. Income of some families will increase, because of abandoning the use of drivers therefore saving the salaries and housing expenses of these drivers, or because of facilitating the ability of a larger number of family members to have access to employment, which will improve their financial capabilities.
On the other hand, this decision has positive social dimensions, where Saudi families are no longer forced to mix with and accept the presence of a driver from outside their environment and be forced to interact with him. Another problem are related to accompany working in such field especially on the level of legal aspects for recruitment or searching for others in the event of a driver’s resignationor for other reasons. This decision will also strengthen the independence of women and increases their self-confidence, which will positively affect their decision-making.
It is worthy to note the many achievements of Saudi women both locally and internationally, especially under the wise of the highness leadership of King Salman and his crown prince Mohamed who encourage and helps women to achieve their goals by enabling them to play their role in the society. The women section of the Eighth Development Plan, which entitled “Women and Development”, is the best proof of the State’s efforts in the process of developing and advancing Saudi women, and because women are half of the society and directly supporting them will also mean supporting indirectly the other half of the society.
Undoubtedly, many of the recent decisions in favor of Saudi women prove beyond doubt the leadership’s keenness to give women all their rights. which supports women’s advancement to preserve their identity and to prove to all of the world that Saudi women are as good as their counterparts in other countries. The leadership’s decision comes as an important step towards realizing the 2030 vision and implementing as many as possible of the 17 global goals. For example, one of the most important targeted goals that concern women in the Saudi Arabia’s strategic vision for 2030 is to raise the percentage of local female labor force up to 30% and this includes the private sector, and close to 40% of senior civil service positions. In other words, women must be a part in the development of their country and the stability of their society. All this made the matter more as a national goal that the Kingdom seeks to strengthen the national economy with multiple sources of income and fair access for employment opportunities to all segments of the country.
The trend proves that Saudi women have been and remain to be among the state’s visionary interests, which among its goals is to increase women’s participation in the labor market. In addition to the development of their talents and the optimal utilization of their abilities, this means enable Saudi Women to get the opportunities to contribute in the development of the society and elevate the nation’s image. One of the most important basics of building countries is the optimal investment in their children, empowering women is the only one of the most important of these factors and has a profound impact on the composition of society and its development.
women rights is not just to minister, an ambassador, or a university director, it their rights to be educated. In addition, it is important to note the importance and necessity of continuing efforts to grant more legitimate rights that lead to the empowerment of Saudi women, as well as the need of a support at the local level to show appreciation to women and their importance in the society for its impact on society’s advancement. That is why the other half of society – Men – strongly supported women’s rights.
In conclusion, a question is risen in mind; after all these achievements, did Saudi women achieve their ambitions and will stop there? The answer is No, Saudi women will never stop their aspirations, in order to keep up with the current developments in the world which increase their goals. Saudi women will never stop dreaming and achieving their dreams, they are not less than women in all over the world.
A writer in International Relations and International Organizations *
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