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Saudi car show welcomes first female clients

Saturday, October 07, 2017 - 01:23

A Saudi car show in Riyadh has welcomed a fleet of potential new customers: women. They were itching to take the driving seat after a decades-old ban on women driving was lifted last week. Lucy Fielder reports.

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A fleet of potential new customers at this car show in Riyadh: women. They were given the right to drive last week after nearly three decades of campaigning. Saudi Arabia was the last country in the world to bar female drivers. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FEMALE VISITOR, NADIA (SURNAME UNKNOWN), SAYING: "I'm so excited. Everyone has been very friendly so I think I won't have a hard time finding my car. I'm very happy that this (King's decree) was issued and I look forward to driving." King Salman decreed that women will be able to take the driving seat by next June. So clients might have to wait a while yet for that test run. A typical middle class Saudi family has two cars - one driven by the man of the house and the other by a chauffeur who transports his wife and children. So the decree will change the lifestyles of more than 10 million adult women, including foreigners, who live in the conservative kingdom. It shouldn't do car sales any harm either. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CORPORATE MARKETING & PR MANAGER AT AL-JOMAIH AUTOMOTIVE, SALAH AL-OBATHANI, SAYING: "We are actually happy for that decision (King's decree allowing women to drive) in both terms, the society and also business-wise. Business-wise, it will help to increase the sales for the cars and automotive market and for the accessories market and after sales market, it's all going to get benefits from this decision." The current ban limits women's mobility and is seen by activists as an emblem of their suppression. The UN and activists have welcomed the breakthrough, but urged the kingdom to do much more to end discrimination.

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Saudi car show welcomes first female clients

Saturday, October 07, 2017 - 01:23