Saudi Women React To Being Overcharged for Driving Lessons By Teaching Each Other for Free

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY ACIL TABBARA Saudi activist Manal Al Sharif, who now lives in Dubai, flashes the sign for victory as she drives her car in the Gulf Emirate city on October 22, 2013, in solidarity with Saudi women preparing to take to the wheel on October 26, defying the Saudi authorities, to campaign women's right to drive in Saudi Arabia. Under the slogan " driving is a choice ", activists have called on social networks for women to gather in vehicles on October 26, the culmination of the campaign launched in September, in the only country in the world where women do not have the right drive. AFP PHOTO/MARWAN NAAMANI (Photo credit should read MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)
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Women in Saudi Arabia are sharing images showing that it costs up to six times more for women to take driving courses than it does for men. Women with some driving experience (such as those whose husbands or family members have taken them out) are required 30 hours of training, while those without any experience are required 90 hours. The average price of one hour of driving practice costs 60-75 riyals, meaning women without experience will pay nearly $1800 just to get the hours needed to qualify for a license. For men, it costs a little more than $100.

All-women’s colleges are also offering driving courses with hefty price tags. One Saudi Snapchat user shared an image of the cost of courses at Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University; one driving course there costs 2400 riyals.


Comparatively, a website for the Saudi Ministry of the Interior shows it only costs men 435 riyals for a driving course.

Saudi women immediately took to Twitter to condemn the inequity. Hanaa Aldhafery, a 32-year-old Saudi woman, tweeted, “Are there any volunteers who are ready to train others to drive for free? (And the training will be after Ramadan because we don’t want any trouble with the law and the training will be in parking lots away from crowded places) If the answer is yes write the name of your city in the #مستعده_ادرب”

Taking Aldhafery’s lead, under the hashtag #مستعده_ادرب (#iam_ready_to_train_you), both women and men who know how to drive began offering to teach nearby women. If those without experience can get some road time with their generous neighbors, they’ll only be required to complete 30 hours of training, saving them nearly $900.

“Training in Al Qasim provided if the trainee can provide the car,” one woman tweeted in Arabic. Another Twitter user offered to lend his car to up to five women who couldn’t afford to rent a vehicle so that they could learn.

“I started the hashtag because I want to help other girls learn how to drive perfectly,” Aldhafery told through a translator. “Because if a girl went to a driving training center without experience they will charge her more.”

On Alrasd, a show on the local channel Ekhbariyah, one guest challenged driving schools’ decision to charge women more, calling it a clear example of discrimination. Abuldraham Allahim, a lawyer and guest on the show, said last week it only cost his male driver 460 riyals, but it will cost his daughter 2400. “Are you training girls to drive a rocket with these prices?” he quipped.

Source – Elle


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