Who Benefits from Saudi Arabian Women Driving?
When it was announced last month that women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to get driver’s licenses, the car world collectively rejoiced. While there is still a long way to go for Saudi Arabia to treat its women as full citizens, this is a step in the right direction. Now that the euphoria has had a chance to die down, we have to ask: Who benefits the most from Saudi women sliding behind the wheel of a car?
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The first major beneficiary of this new policy is the image of Saudi Arabia abroad. Before the big announcement last month, the Middle Eastern country was the only nation on Earth that did not allow women to drive. It was a highly-visible indicator that women in the country were not treated as real citizens. By letting ladies drive, some of its repression of women drifts below the surface of international consciousness.
After the nation itself, many people speculate that the auto industry might be the second biggest beneficiary of this new policy. Allowing the amount of drivers on the road to basically double should mean more people needing to buy cars, right? The National points out that isn’t necessarily the case, as several women actually already own cars, they just have to hire male drivers to operate them. In fact, the true winner in this situation, besides the women of Saudi Arabia, is the auto insurance industry. Women might have owned cars before, but they have never had to purchase insurance for themselves.
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The benefits to the car insurance industry have already started to manifest themselves, as stock in these companies soared in the Riyadh exchange when the new policy was announced. Regardless of who really benefits in the end, we’re happy that the women of Saudi Arabia will finally be allowed to drive next year. Mobility is a huge step forward towards being recognized as contributing members of society.
News Source: The National