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'I can't believe I'm driving in Saudi Arabia'

June 24, 2018 4:10 pm

As Saudi Arabia lifts its ban on women drivers, Roa Altaweli, a midwife in Jeddah, makes her first drive to work. Here is her story.

I woke up earlier than usual today. I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep. Today I’m driving to work, and for the first time I’m not taking a backseat. I’m behind the wheel. I still can’t believe I’m going to be driving in Jeddah.

Saudi Arabia has today finally lifted its ban on women drivers. I was up until after midnight scrolling through social media for photos and videos of women hitting the roads in the moments after the ban was lifted.

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Day one is a quiet one on the roads – a school summer holiday. Not a bad thing for anxious first-time drivers. Accompanied by my dad, for a few tips and some moral support, I set out for work.

On the way I pass the police, but I’m not scared of being pulled over. I have a licence and I’m driving legally in Saudi Arabia. I stop to get coffee from a drive-through, and I’m the first female driver the barista has ever served.

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