Saudi Arabia’s decades-long ban on female motorists was lifted just two months ago, but CCTV footage shows that not all women have treated their newfound freedom with respect.
A clip filmed in the city of Damman appears to show a woman driving off in an unattended vehicle – which would make her one of Saudi Arabia’s first female car thieves.
The video shows a white car waiting at the side of the road, while a red vehicle pulls up behind and parks. The driver walks away.
A woman can then be seen climbing out of the back seat of the white car and getting behind the wheel of the parked red car. She then backs out of the parking space and drives away.
Reponses to the tweet suggest opinion is divided, with some accusing the woman of stealing the vehicle while others suspect it’s just a trick. One said: “I don’t think she stole it, she’s just playing a prank on its owner.” Others doubted the authenticity of the whole clip, asking “Is there anyone who’d leave their car unlocked while they make a run to the store?”
Others took a more extreme view, with one saying “It looks like a guy wearing an abaya,” and “It’s clear that it’s a gang using this woman to steal cars.”
Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on women driving after decades, finally allowing them behind the wheel after June 24. The movement was part of the Saudi royal family’s plans to reform the heavily conservative country, aiming to ‘reform and transform’ society in Saudi Arabia by 2030.
Before this date, women were forbidden to drive under the country’s strict gender segregation laws. The government claimed that driving may involve women uncovering the face, interacting with males who are not their mahram, or guardian, and even overcrowding the streets.