In first, Saudi woman gets reserved parking spot

In first, Saudi woman gets reserved parking spot

Latifa blamed the Council for not following through with recommendations for women to drive

Manama: Shura Council Member Latifa Al Shaalan has become the first woman in Saudi Arabia to have a public parking space under her name.

“When I arrived in the Shura Council this morning, I was welcomed by women with a bouquet of roses and by men who presented to me a picture of the parking space at the Council reserved for me,” she posted on her Twitter account.

“It is a glorious day and I have been fighting back tears. I congratulate all Saudi women and I thank immensely King Salman,” said Latifa, the most prominent advocate for the right of Saudi women to drive in their country.

In her address to the Council on Wednesday, Latifa said that she could not sleep from the excitement generated by King Salman’s decision to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia.

“I am not going to refer to all the positive political, economic, social and security aspects of the decision because my colleagues and I presented them in several motions to allow women to drive,” she said.

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“I co-filed the first motion in 2013 with my colleagues Haya Al Maneea and Mona Al Mushait to allow women to drive. In 2014, Haya and I presented a draft to amend the regulations related to driving licence and include that men and women could obtain it. I also debated for the right of women to drive in 2016 and pleaded King Salman in November 2018 to issue the right for women to drive. This year, 12 Shura members and I gave a recommendation to allow women to drive.”

Latifa blamed the Council for not following through with the motions and recommendations.

“The Shura Council is lagging light years behind the government and is dislocated from reality, the vision, the national transformation and the mobility of the government,” she said.

“We are supposed to race ahead of the government, but because this will not happen, we should at least keep up with its initiatives and ensure we are not always lagging behind.”

She added that no one should suppress initiatives either in the committees or in the parliament under the claims the time to discuss them was not suitable or the country is busy with conflicts at the southern border or unemployment.

“King Salman took such a bold decision amid all these challenges and open fronts. We represent different opinions, ideas and movements, and this is normal. Let us accept our differences and always allow votes to decide without disruption or the hijacking of opinions and initiatives. The Council should shift its attention from recommendations about palm weevil, industrial cities and fruit silos to recommendations about cultural, social and human rights issues.”