Why some women are not getting behind the wheel in Saudi Arabia

New research reveals barriers stopping women driving in Saudi Arabia a year after ban was lifted.
Women, Saudi Arabia, Society, Culture, Driving


A year after women were first allowed to get driving licences in Saudi Arabia, new research reveals that a lack of driving knowledge is the biggest reason stopping Saudi women from getting behind the wheel.

The YouGov research comes as around 70,000 licences have been issued to women in Saudi Arabia, with several driving schools opening since the ban was lifted last year.

On the first year anniversary of this milestone, YouGov asked Saudi women who have not applied for a licence what the biggest barriers are to them in doing so.

Not knowing how to drive is the biggest. A higher proportion of women now state this as a factor (35%) compared to 24% last year when they were first interviewed.

Other reasons included a fear of car accidents (23% compared to 27% last year) and low confidence among women in their driving skills (21% compared to 20%).

There has also been a notable fall in the proportion of women saying that their husbands’ or family members’ objection is stopping them from driving (from 23% in 2018 to 16%).

The number of women saying they don’t need to drive because they have drivers is almost the same, while those saying the same due to fear of harassment by male drivers declined from 10% to 6%.

Those women who said they fear being judged by the Saudi society also fell from 4% to 1% over the past year.

Data for the survey was collected online by YouGov Omnibus among 400 female respondents in Saudi Arabia in August 2018 and June 2019.

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