Saudi women transition from the driving seat to under the hood


Saudi women transition from the driving seat to under the hood

Saudi women transition from the driving seat to under the

A Saudi Arabian auto repair shop is looking to Saudi women, who were not even permitted to drive until four years ago, as an untapped source of future auto mechanics.

As part of a statewide initiative to increase the number of women in the workforce, new female recruits work alongside their male coworkers at the Petromin Express garage in Jeddah, on the Red Sea coast.

Yet the women trainees have, perhaps unsurprisingly, met a plethora of impediments as they enter a career that is male-dominated the globe over –- and especially more so in the strict Muslim monarchy.

Several people told AFP that during their first few months of employment, they had moments of self-doubt, distrust from family members, and outright hostility from some clients.

Recruit Ghada Ahmad recalled that when an "old man" entered the garage, he instantly told all the women to leave because he didn't want them to approach his vehicle.

Since I'm a woman and he doesn't trust my job because I'm a woman, it's reasonable for him to be sceptical at first, said Ahmad, who was dressed in a long blue overcoat and white gloves covered in grease.

"It's a novel experience for them. Now a woman appears after years of only seeing men."

Ahmad had periods when she questioned whether these men might have a point as she attempted to understand the fundamentals.

"I used to cry and declare, "This job is not for me," when I returned home with swollen hands. It appears that what they said was accurate "She remembered.

However, as her abilities increased, so did her confidence, which was supported by other clients who were more supportive.

"A man approached and said, "I'm really proud of you. You are paying us respect. You are the crown we wear."

Dedicated husbands

In order to diversify the oil-dependent economy and moderate Saudi Arabia's extreme image, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Vision 2030 initiative places a strong emphasis on advancing women's rights.

The most well-known reform occurred in 2018, when Prince Mohammed, the de facto ruler of the kingdom, authorised the lifting of a long-standing ban on women driving.

Additionally, the nation has loosened so-called "guardianship" laws that grant men arbitrary control over female family members.

Despite a crackdown on dissent that has entangled some of the very campaigners fighting for reform, these actions have enhanced Prince Mohammed's reputation as a champion of women's rights.

However, Jeddah-based female mechanics told AFP they would never have begun working without their spouses' approval.

The employment was initially made known to 44-year-old Ola Flimban, a mother of four, via a social media post. She instantly asked her husband, Rafat Flimban, if she might apply.

Rafat agreed and taught his wife the names of the spare components to assist her study for the interview.

"She now has knowledge of many auto models, how to change the oil, and how to inspect vehicles. Even examining my car is she,” said he.

That is the most often asked question.

Mechaal, 20, arrived in his silver vehicle for an oil change as she was still speaking.

He acknowledged being "shocked" that a woman would handle the duty, but he quickly changed his mind.

He asserted, "If they are here, that must mean they are trained, and perhaps they comprehend my car better than I do.

Tariq Javed, vice president of Petromin, stated that his business was "confident" that this campaign will inspire more women to work in the automobile industry at all levels.

According to the business, their training "covers all express services, including oil, battery, tyres, air conditioning

We put girls at ease

The city's female drivers stand to benefit the most from the company's programme.

The 30-year-old Angham Jeddawi, who has worked at the garage for six months, claimed that when we work on girls' automobiles, "we make them feel relaxed."

"When speaking to guys, some women experience shyness. They are unsure about how to communicate with them and what will happen to the car. However, they are allowed to chat at length with us."

For Jeddawi, the work has allowed her to achieve a dream she had always considered unreachable.

"My dream was to work in the auto industry, but as a Saudi woman, this was not an option. Therefore, as soon as the opportunity presented itself, I applied "She spoke.

She has been inspired to travel herself by the knowledge she has acquired.

She's been practising for her driving exam and anticipates receiving her licence in a month.

"Now I know how to behave if I confront an issue in the middle of the road," she remarked.

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