Being a woman is supposed to be as enjoyable as being a man. But even though we live in the 21st century that’s not the case in many counties. There are still places around the globe where women don’t meet the same rights as men.
There are some areas where women are still underestimated. For example, there are fewer women in government positions even in many modern countries. On the other hand, a study shows that women receive smaller salaries than men in the same job position.
Some of you might think “Well, it’s not fair but this situation is getting better”. Actually yes, women’s rights are getting more important in Western countries, but do you know that there are countries where women still don’t have the right to drive?
Why Women Are Restricted from Driving in Some Countries
Something so simple as driving can be a topic for gender equality decisions. Women in the USA are used to daily driving to work, but just a few probably know that their “sisters” from countries like Saudi Arabia, for example, win their right to drive just a few years ago.
Women in the USA were never forbidden of driving. There wasn’t a law against female drivers. Since cars were introduced in the USA, women have had the same right as men regarding driving. There weren’t any restrictions for women to get driving licenses.
This knowledge makes us feel proud but also makes many people consider what would be the reason behind female driving restrictions in some counties.
First, place some religion gives women fewer rights than men. This is more valued in the Islamic religion where women have to follow restrictions for the way they dress up. It’s not surprising that women are banned from driving in some Muslim counties.
Religion also creates some moral norms that govern society’s behavior. This leads women to believe that they do not deserve the same rights that men have.
Counties Where Women Are Banned From Driving
There is one country where women are forbidden to drive a car – Afghanistan. Actually, Afghanistan women had the right to get driving licenses until the county was occupied by the Taliban in 2021 for the second time.
There is no law that forbids women to get driving licenses but there are many religious and cultural norms against women drivers. This led to fewer women drivers in the country. This is part of the many restrictions for Afghanistan women that are established by the Taliban regime.
Afghanistan women don’t meet the support of Afghanistan men either. The women often meet violence on the road from men who chase their cars off the road. In general, being a woman behind a wheel in Afghanistan is life-threatening. This makes many women give up on driving.
The situation is similar in Morocco and Sudan. These are also Islamic counties where there are cultural and religious restrictions against women drivers.
The Case of Saudi Arabia
Until June 2018 women in Saudi Arabia were banned from driving by the law. This was a result of following a very strict brand of Islamic law known as ‘Wahhabism’. The law says that men and women should be kept separate. According to this law, women don’t need to drive because always they have to be a male guardian (a husband) who is supposed to drive them.
In 2011 have started the first changes in the law that include women’s rights. The son of the king by that time had the role of US ambassador, which make him more aware of how American women live. He was in charge of a plan to reform and transform society in Saudi Arabia by 2030.
The goal of this plan was to increase the number of women in the workforce. This could happen by giving women more social rights one of them giving them permission to drive. In September 2018 this is official – Saudi Arabia women have the right to take driving licenses and to sit behind the wheel.
The more conservative part of society doesn’t react well to this news. The supporter of traditions and religion denounced this action as trampling on the religious laws of Islam.
On the other hand, Manal al-Sharif – the woman that had started the Women2Drive campaign and then was sent to prison for that, met this news as a win.
Saudi Arabia was the last county where women were banned from driving. Apart from that, there are more “wins” for Saudi Arabia’s women that happened last year. In 2023 women are allowed to play sports, vote, and be elected to local councils.
Not all Islamic counties had restrictions against women getting driving licenses. Counties like Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and UAE, are not democratic but have allowed women to drive. Even in these counties, there are other restrictions that women have to follow which creates gender inequality.
My name is Rebecca McCarthy and i am just an ordinary American girl from British heritage that lives in Nashville, Tennessee, that also enjoys hot summer days, travelling, strong men and brand new cars.
LadyAutoBlog is just a small portion of my car philosophy and it’s the perfect reflection of my life and how i feel about the involvement of girls in this pretty distant world.