Some Women Can’t Drive


Some Women Can’t Drive

Sometimes you can ignore your own complacency and sometimes your complacency earns you a kick in the head. I’m well versed in the parking culture in the United States, and use this forum regularly to share my opinions, but read an article today that defined the narrowness of my experience.

I read this article on and faced the reality that parking in the U.S. is literally and figuratively worlds apart from parking in other countries. According to the article, most women in Saudi Arabia do not drive – they are not allowed. Some have a driver, but others end up driving illegally. Some have licenses, but, reportedly, drive badly. Few, like the woman described by the author of this article, drive well and even know how to parallel park.

At that very moment I saw a young Saudi lady who parked her older model car, which apparently had no reverse guiding camera sensor or sound alarm, but she parked her car as if parking cars was her full-time job. In short, it was clear that she was a much better driver than me.

Of course, I know this is not big news or story, but let’s be honest and frank that talking about women driving in Saudi Arabia is always big news. As a matter of fact, many occasions it is international news. There are parts of the Kingdom where women can drive — one of them is the premise of Saudi Aramco.

The writer, Abdulateef Al-Mulhim, states that laws against women driving in Saudi Arabia are based on culture, not religion. The author reports that the country has the highest number of highway fatalities in the world – because of the recklessness of male drivers. The author suggests that putting more women in the road will, initially, make driving even more dangerous, but that it is a change that has to be made.

It is painful to see sexism and discrimination applied so perniciously. Here is a country that does not allow its women to drive. They are not allowed to learn to drive, and they are prevented from driving, in part, because they are expected to be bad drivers. Which came first? Neither. What came first was a belief that women are less than men.

Our country has a full set of issues based on racism, sexism and all kinds of isms, but we are 100 years ahead of a country that does not allow women to drive.

Read the article here.

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John Van Horn

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