Starting in June, Saudi Arabia will finally allow women to drive for the first time in the kingdom’s modern history, and many Saudi women are wholeheartedly embracing the changes and using platforms like Twitter to push for even more of them.
This week, women in the Kingdom began to share 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 ELLE.com through a translator. “Because if a girl went to a driving training center without experience they will charge her more.”
For now, women on Twitter are banding together to make driving more affordable for each other. “I’m ready to train in Riyadh,” one woman tweeted. “With moral support for every girl who feels intimidated by driving or has any kind of phobia from driving in the streets. We help and we support. No for exploitation and no waiting lists.”
— َ (@Bergljot__) April 19, 2018
BY JESSICA ROY
This article originally appeared on elle.com