Cars and girls: Saudi Arabia opens first women-only motor showroom

Saturday, 13 Jan, 2018

For the first time, women will this June be allowed to get behind the wheel, after it was announced in September that a ban on women drivers would be lifted.

Riyadh's move to take control appears aimed at ensuring the group can continue to serve Saudi Arabia's development plans, said banking and industry sources, who declined to be named due to the political and commercial sensitivity of the matter.

"This is more than women's rights: today's match between Al-Ahli and Al-Batin, and the ones to follow, are opportunities for families to come together and enjoy KSA's national sport - soccer!"

Chauffeur-driven auto booking services, Uber and Careem, are set to recruit female drivers in Saudi Arabia as the kingdom lifted a ban on women driving vehicles in September a year ago. As Saudi Arabia readies itself for this historic lifting of ban, ride hailing applications in the Islamic nation have started their preparation looking forward to employ female chauffeurs as per reports.

Those who complete the training sessions receive a certificate which acts as a guarantee that they have officially joined Careem's team, bar any changes to Saudi traffic laws, says Careem's public relations manager, Murtadha Alalawi.

To prepare for the change, the kingdom has designated "family sections" in the stands for women, separated by barriers from the male-only crowd. The kingdom wants to increase participation of women in the Saudi labor market and and other aspects of life.

"I can not wait to drive!" a young woman wearing the niqab face veil told ABC News.

The announcement that Saudi Arabia will allow families into three sports stadiums was made a year ago, in a landmark move that opened up the previously male-only venues to families.

Hours before the game, Saudi clubs were encouraging women to attend through tweets on social media. But Friday's fixture at Riyadh's King Fahd International Stadium is momentous: for the first time in the country's history, women will join men cheering for their favorite team inside the stadium.

League leaders Al Hilal face Al Ittihad on Saturday.