NewsSaudi women shift from behind the wheel to under the hood

Saudi women shift from behind the wheel to under the hood

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 Agenda, which aims to diversify the oil-dependent economic system and soften Saudi Arabia’s radical image, focuses on expanding women’s rights.

Saudi Arabia’s auto repair shop is now looking for new mechanics. This is because Saudi women are not allowed to drive, which was four years ago.

New female employees check oil and change tires at the Petromin Express garage in Jeddah on the Red Sea Coast. This is part of a national push to increase the number of women working.

However, women trainees may have encountered many obstacles as they attempt to enter a field that is dominated by men all over the globe, and more so in conservative Muslim countries.

Several employees told AFP that their first months on a job brought with them moments of self-doubt and skepticism from family members, as well as hostility from customers.

An “old man” came to the garage and immediately ordered the women out. He said he didn’t want them near his car. Ghada Ahmad, a recruit, was also present.

Ahmad, who was wearing grease-streaked gloves and a long, blue overcoat, said, “At first, it’s normal to not trust us because I’m female and he doesn’t trust my work.

“It’s a new experience for them… After years spent only seeing men, now they see a woman.”

Ahmad wondered at times if these men might have something to say as she struggled to grasp the basics.

“I used to go home with my hands swollen and crying, saying that this job was not for me. She recalled that it looked like they were right.

However, her skills improved and so did her confidence. This was helped by encouraging customers.

“One man said, “I’m very proud to be your friend.” We are honored. We are wearing your crown. ‘”

– Helpful husbands

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 Agenda, which aims to diversify the oil-dependent economic system and soften Saudi Arabia’s radical image, focuses on expanding women’s rights.

Prince Mohammed, de facto ruler of the kingdom, was responsible for the lifting of the decades-old ban against women driving in 2018.

The country also relaxed so-called “guardianship”, rules that allow men to have arbitrary authority over their female relatives.

These actions have reaffirmed Prince Mohammed’s status as a woman’s rights champion despite a crackdown that has ensnared some activists who were pushing for reform.

AFP reported that Jeddah’s women mechanics said they couldn’t have worked without their husbands’ permission.

Ola Flimban (44-year-old mother of a family of four) first learned about the job opportunities through a post on social media. She immediately asked Rafat Flimban if she could apply.

Rafat was willing to help his wife prepare for the interview, teaching her the names and locations of spare parts.

“Now, she is familiar with different types of cars, how to change oil and how to inspect them. He said that she had even checked my car.

Ola has been able to manage wary customers at her garage with ease because of the support she receives at home.

She said, “They are shocked that girls work in this industry and ask us to tell them how we fell in love”

“That’s the most commonly asked question.”

As she spoke, Michael, 20, drove up in his silver sedan to get an oil change.

He was “shocked” to learn that the task would be performed by a woman. But he quickly accepted it.

He said that if they were here it meant they are trained. “And maybe they understand my car more than I do.”

Tariq Javed, vice president of Petromin, stated that his company is “confident” that the initiative will encourage more women into the automotive industry at all stages.

According to the company, its training includes “all express services”, including oil, battery, and tires.

– “We make girls feel relaxed” –

The city’s female drivers are perhaps the greatest beneficiaries of the firm’s initiative.

“We make girls feel relaxed when operating on their cars,” stated Angham Jeddawi (30), who has been working at the garage for six months.

“Some girls are shy around men. They don’t know how they can talk to them and what will happen with the car. They can talk a lot with us.

Jeddawi has achieved a goal that she had hoped for all her life.

“My dream was to work in the automotive industry, but this was impossible for a Saudi woman. “So when the opportunity presented itself, I applied immediately,” she explained.

She’s inspired by the knowledge she has gained to take on the road.

She is currently studying for her driving exam and hopes to get her license in a matter of months.

She said, “If I have to face a problem on the roadside, I now know how I should react.”


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