Dubai: The countdown has begun, and women in Saudi Arabia have exactly one month left to go before they can officially start driving in the kingdom.
Last September, a royal decree announced the end of a decades-long unofficial ban on women driving.
Women 18 years of age and older will be allowed to apply for a driver’s licence, and will be able to start driving from June 24.
In recognition of women starting to driving next month, Shell Saudi Arabia launched a campaign under the hashtags #SupportHerJourney that aims to encourage men “to support her journey just like she supported yours”.
ALSO READ: Driving just the start for Saudi women
The promotional video, which was published online on May 2, features five men who share their feelings about women drivers – and their answers are all real.
“When the royal decree was announced, a lot of men took to twitter doubting women’s abilities to drive. So, we got five men from different walks of life and asked for their opinions, but what they said surprised everyone,” said Shell KSA.
The short video interviews an ex-navy officer, a hip hop artist, a TV personality, a doctor and a professional Rollerblader.
“They say behind every great man is a great woman. My wife Rasha Khayat, has always stood by me. She made me realise who I am – who I’m truly meant to be – and helped me bring my dreams to life,” said Mohammad Ebrahim Tomaihi.
“Women helped drive entire generations. Why can’t they be trusted behind a steering wheel,” he said.
The heart-warming video has received over 2.3 million views since its launch, and was applauded by a number of social media users who said the lifting of the ban on women drivers was one step closer to the empowerment of women.
A Saudi woman gestures as she sits in a car during a driving class at a university in Jeddah. Source: Reuters
“My sister’s a pilot, for crying out loud. How can she be told she can’t drive a car? I thank God for my sister. She’s helped me through every difficulty,” said Abdul Aziz Saud Al Dakheel.
Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, 32, is seen as the force behind the lifting of the ban, part of a series of reforms being pushed in the kingdom.
His Vision 2030 reform plan for a post-oil era seeks to elevate women to nearly one-third of the workforce, up from about 22 per cent now.
The decision to allow women to drive will also give them the mobility needed in joining the workforce.