Saudi Women’s Driving School
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14 November 2019

Saudi Women’s Driving School

In 2018, a whole new world opened up for women in Saudi Arabia when they were finally allowed to take to the road and drive themselves. More than just another change in the law, this ruling meant a measure of freedom for women, and many activists hope that it will lead to more reforms for the secretive kingdom.

This HBO documentary visits the country’s first women-only driving school to find out what this newfound freedom means and why it’s not quite the change everyone thinks it is.

Saudi women like Shahad al-Humaizi have been given the chance to do something the western world takes for granted: the right to go where they want, when they want, under their own supervision. And they couldn’t be happier,

The doccie’s director Erica Gornall says that “for women like race-car driver Amjad Alamri and Uber driver [Shahad] al-Humaizi, the ban ending translates into career opportunities”. It’s not an insignificant step forward. It really is life-changing, and you can see that in the honesty of the women who now have the thrill of driving cars, busses, trucks and anything with wheels.

The driving school is like any other driving school and the fly-on-the-wall doccie does what it says: it follows women driving. There is the odd interview from men involved with the industry, as well as one husband who says that while he’s happy that his wife can drive, he doesn’t want her to because it will bring shame on his family.

Women evidently still have a long way to go on their long drive to freedom.

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