After the ban on women’s driving in Saudi Arabia, Rua Altavelli, who worked midwife in Jeddah, went to work by driving a car. He shared his experience with the BBC –
Today I got up early before every day. I was so excited that I could not sleep. Today I am going to work from car and this is the first time that I am not sitting in the previous seat but steering in my hand. I can not believe that I am able to drive a car in Jeddah.
Saudi Arabia has finally lifted the ban on women driving. I stayed till late in the night and watched the pictures and videos of women on the social media who came out with the car.
My first day of driving was calm. Schools have summer holidays. This is a good thing for first time driving people. My father was with me to give me some moral support and some advice.
On the way I saw the police, but I did not have the fear of the car being stopped. Now I have a license and I’m legally driving a car in Saudi Arabia. On the way I stopped to take coffee on drive through. This is the first time Barista has given coffee to a female driver.
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When I was having a diploma in midwife in Bahrain, then I used to go to college after driving a car. I have a driving license from the year 2005. I also have an international license and I have been driving during the holidays in Dubai, Portugal and USA.
It was easy to convert Bahrain’s Dreneng license into a Saudi license, but finding a date for a driving test was not that easy. The demand was so high that all dates before July were reserved. Fortunately a few weeks ago, my sister and I got time for the driving test. We passed the test for the first time.
My father and younger brother encouraged both of our sisters to get a license so that we could run the car as soon as the ban was lifted.
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I am a midwife from a profession and I have a PhD in Midwayfree from Britain. It is extremely important for a midwife to drive in Europe and other developed countries so that if necessary, they can take the pregnant woman to the hospital without waiting for an ambulance or help.
Many times it is important to have a driving license to get a job.
Now the women employees working in the health sector will be able to drive home by going to the hospital or hospital instead of raising the risk of taking a taxi during late night duty.
The hospital I work in is in the eastern part of Jeddah. When I got into a hospital with a carriage, no one dared me. I felt like I have been driving the car for a long time.
There is still a lot to be done, but there is a sense of empowerment by driving on a car by yourself. Today is a historic day and it seems that in Saudi Arabia, there are many such historical days for women now.