Since I work and live in the largest city in Saudi Arabia in which there is no public transportation that women can access, transportation is an everyday issue with me. Just to bring in a driver from abroad, costs thousands. Afterwards, I also have to pay him 700-900 riyals salary, 300 riyals room and board, and 200 riyals food. Plus, I’ll have to pay car installments and gas not only for my trips but for his as well. Envirnomentally, I’m doing double the damage that I would have if I was driving myself. That is because everytime my driver drops me off at work, he makes the half hour trip back home until I finish. So that is an hour of extra pollution that could have been avoided if I could just park my car outside the college.
I’ve also tried group transportation, where you pay a driver who has his own car. Most of their cars are dirty and the drivers are rude and overbearing. Their time always conflicts with mine and they all overcharge.
Just thinking about my transportation problem, I become indescribably frustrated. It wouldnít make sense to leave a job I love and stay home, only because I can’t get there without a hassle.
Please tell me what does this Phillippino or Indian have that makes him capable of driving a car while I sit helplessly in the backseat paying him a huge chunk of my salary. Heís not a better driver than I am. Statistical facts prove that women are better and safer drivers than men. To prove it, just look into the difference between male and female car insurance policies abroad. Female car insurance is always cheaper.
What is stopping us Saudi women from driving? I know it isnít Islam. Sahabi* women rode horses and camels. They fought men in battles. It wouldnít make sense to prohibit their descendants from driving a car. Another argument Iíve heard is that the Prophetís (Peace be upon him) time is different than ours. And that Muslim society, especially women, is different than what is was at the Prophetís day and age. However, isnít that going above the judgment of Allah? Since Allah states that Islam (as it was sent down upon Mohammed (Peace be upon him)) is a religion for all time and place.
If the government allows women to drive, we would save so much money in bringing in drivers and paying their salaries. It would also bring down middle class stress levels. It would make everything easier and less complicated.
Right now, getting a bottle of milk from a nearby market calls for so many phone calls and arrangement that in the end, a middle class woman like me does without the milk. I dream of a day when I could simply park my car outside my work and whenever I finish work I can get in my own car and drive home. That would be an enormous luxury.
*Sahabi is a term used for muslims who were companions of the prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him)