No reason why women shouldn’t driveMore ladies behind the wheel [Archives:2005/813/Community]

February 3 2005

Taiz Bureau
It seems it has become normal to see a veiled woman driving a vehicle, something that was impossible before two decades ago.

Salwa, a girl staff drawing a monthly salary of Y.R.5000/- only said that she desires to possess and drive her own vehicle, so, she deprives herself from a lot of things, even women jewels, and saves monthly one half of her salary for a vehicle.

She said, with warmth, that she suffers much of her transporting in taxi or buses. Among the inconvenience caused by the driver and the passengers are filthy words and with strange looks given to her.

In addition to the crowd, she also finds herself disturbed by the smoking. So getting a car has become a first priority, even before the university graduation certificate.

Moreover, it has become her dream night.

But are women capable of tackling the vehicles problems and its needs? What will happen in case the car goes out of order, and how will the community look at her?

Na'elah, a staffworker in a bank, says that she does not feel of any strange staring of the people at her – this act has become so normal to her, in spite of few women in Taiz who own vehicles.

She adds that she drives her car inside the town and doesn't go out of the town. In case the vehicle goes out of order, she leaves it there and goes to fetch a mechanic, or she contacts one of her relatives or colleagues.

Nadiyah Muhammad, a staff in Aden, says that Aden is contradictory to all the other Yemeni governorates. Any woman who has a car can drive so freely.

In the past, the people used to look at any woman driving a car as abnormal thing, but now, and due to the increasing number of women drivers, it has become so normal, she said.

And she mentions that some people are so cooperative to the women. If a woman has problems or is stuck, some people will cooperate with her to solve the problem.

She said that once her car got stuck and as a result she consulted one of the pedestrians who advised her what to do and how to repair the simple defect that looked like a big one at first.

Hanan Ali in Taiz says that she drives the car well and roams in Taiz as she likes, but, due to so many streets in Taiz she doesn't drive through any of them as she is scared of getting lost.

Centuries ago, during the reign of the King Luis the 15th, in France, women raised the driving issues, when insisting they wanted to drive carriage by herself in Paris streets.

That caused traffic problems due to men's looking at the women, so, the king issued a decree forbidding women under 30 from driving.

Things have changed since then. Colonel Abdullatif al-Musry, the Director of Hodeidah Traffic Bureau sees no difference between the man and the woman in driving the vehicles by saying:

“When the Traffic Law No.46 Fy 1991 and its by-laws provisions and procedures of obtaining the driving license were issued it didn't point out that these provisions are restricted to men excluding the women, but it was only the community customs, the ethics and nature of woman that restricted them.