If there is a ban like with female drivers how does that work with foreign airlines that fly into Saudi Arabia? Do they have to have a female pilot turn the controls over to a male co-pilot when they hit Saudi airspace, or is Saudi Arabia bound by international treaty to allow them even if local women are banned from flying?
It would appear that, although very rare, local women can in fact fly. So I don’t imagin there would be any restrictions on foreign female international pilots flying in and out of the country.
My schoolfriend’s mother was an airline pilot and she spent a lot of time on the Islamabad-Jeddah run.
So I presume, no problem.
The Saudi ban on females driving isn’t absolute; apparently both local and foreign women can drive in Thuwal, and the restrictions on clothing and associating with men are considerably relaxed there. If there are parts of the countries where women can drive, it wouldn’t surprise me that flying would also be permitted.
The Saudi ban on women driving is technically a ban on women being issued with driving licences, coupled with a rule that Saudi citizens can only drive on Saudi licences. The result is that, strictly speaking, a women non-citizen visiting Saudi Arabia who holds a licence from her home country can lawfully drive, although she can expect to be stopped and checked and to encounter resistance, harrassment from the religious police and possibly social disapproval.
Saudi Arabia couldn’t participate in international civil aviation if it adopted a similar attitude to foreign-licensed pilots entering Saudi airspace. Most of the pilots who enter Saudi airspace are probably licensed by countries other than Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia could refuse to licence it’s own female citizens as pilots, but this wouldn’t affect most commercial pilots using Saudi airspace, so what would be the point? And from post #2 it appears that they have no such ban.
Sorry, I spent 3 years working in Saudi and this is not true. Women were not allowed to drive, whether a Saudi citizen, US citizen, military member, family member, whatever. All women working on the base who lived off base had drivers supplied to them to take them to work, or shopping, or to restaurants.
Kind of sucked because I had to drive, and couldn’t get a driver
US military policy may not have allowed women to drive because of the likelihood of harrassment, but my mother and stepmother have both driving in Saudi Arabia with nary a problem.
As I said, it wasn’t just military women. And this was Riyadh and surrounding area, so maybe more severe in the enforcement of laws.
Also, nothing would prevent us from driving out, and then having a woman switch to driving, just to be able to say “See? Women CAN drive in Saudi Arabia”
Years ago, there were compounds where American and European foreigners who worked in Saudi Arabia lived with their families. I imagine they mostly worked for various oil companies. I got the impression within those compounds women were free to drive and dress as they did at home.
Possibly the ban on using foreign licences applies to Saudi residents rather than citizens, and you were classed as a Saudi resident for these purposes. Or possibly the US visiting forces agreement with Saudi imposes a driving ban on all female members of visiting forces and all female dependents, regardless of visa status.
As for Really Not All That Bright’s mother’s and stepmother’s experiences, enforcement of the driving ban seems to be patchy. Vigorously enforced in Riyadh and surrounds, quite vigorously enforced in Jeddah, patchier in other cities and very patchy indeed in some rural areas. So the fact that his female relatives drove and were not challenged doesn’t necessarily mean that they were entitled to do so.
Well, there was that time the late King Abdullah, visiting England, was given a tour of Queen Elizabeth’s Balmoral estate, driven by a female driver, that scared the daylights out of him. Probably set back women’s driving rights in Saudi Arabia by a hundred years.
Royal Brunei Airlines recently had a flight to Jeddah with three female pilots.
Abdullah was viewed as a reformer (in Saudi terms) and let it be known that he favoured the right of women to drive (and vote, for that matter). He just never did anything effective about it.
Whether this is because his reformist instincts were genuine but the political cost of advancing that particular reform would have been too high, or because it simply suited him to be seen as a reformer on this issue when in fact he wasn’t, I leave to others who are better-qualified to navigate the byzantine complexities of Saudi politics.
FWIW, my sources at court tell me that Queen Elizabeth is an enthusiastic but, um, undisciplined driver, having a perhaps understandable sense of entitlement when it comes to matters such as rights of way and priority at junctions, and a very can-do attitude to problems like getting a large car through a small gap. Those who have been her passengers tend to recall the experience vividly.
In rural Arabia it’s quite common to see Bedoiin women drive pick up trucks while tending to animals herd like sheeps and goats. Let me tell you after seeing them drive Gloria Steinam would favour a ban on women driving.
What, are you telling me the guys are any more careful? Bedouin guys may not favor the “hold my beer” methodology of creative driving but I’d be surprised if they turn to be timid about it.
95% of the herding is done by women. The men do… sweet fuck all it seems.
(I am talking of the area around Tabuk, where I lived, might be different elsewhere).
S Arabia traffic generally is not for the faint of heart.
Yeah, but that’s probably true of every driver in the Gulf States. My dad used to live in Oman and we were almost killed - on perfectly straight, wide roads with minimal traffic - almost every time we left the house.