I was interviewed a couple of weeks ago by the lovely people at Our Other Sisters, a fascinating blog exploring Arab Feminism. You can read it here: http://ourothersisters.com/2012/02/29/saudi-arabia-through-western-eyes/ but I suggest you explore the rest of the site, where you can find much more informed and interesting opinions than mine.
Since I was interviewed, I went for dinner with a couple of Saudis, and the discussion turned to Saudi women driving. All three of us agreed that Saudi women should be able to drive. However, my two friends were of the opinion that it would be difficult to implement. They stated that it would be dangerous for three reasons:
Firstly, unleashing such a large driving force on Saudi’s chaotic roads would cause…well….chaos.
Secondly, they were concerned for women themselves. They expressed the opinion that women would become targets for men oggling them (ignoring the fact that half the population have blacked out windows), and perhaps worse.
Thirdly, they fell back on the old argument that women are terrible drivers. Something that, I was told, we could all agree on. (All except virtually every scientific study conducted)
Clearly the first and last arguments are clutching at straws, the car-population wouldn’t just double overnight. Although there might be plenty of male drivers out of a job.
And the second argument is just men telling women what’s best for them. Akin to “if you don’t want to be raped, stop wearing short skirts”. It’s down to us men to change our behaviour. Why should a woman have to worry about driving around? Sure, she probably will have to worry about being oggled, but a) that happens anyway in KSA b) how else are we going to change that?
Anyway, I feel there are plenty of people more qualified to refute these arguments. I merely aim to present them.
In other news, I’ve started private tuition of a Saudi girl. I think I’m more scared of her than she is of me.