Three female pilots have taken to the skies and tarmac to highlight the ridiculous laws of oppression still being used in Saudi Arabia.
The all female pilot crew of Captain Sharifah Czarena Surainy, Senior First Officer Dk Nadiah Pg Khashiem and Senior First Officer Sariana Nordin flew a commercial service from Brunei to Saudi Arabia on Brunei’s National Day, 23 February.
Admittedly this doesn’t really sound all that newsworthy on its own. But the women’s presence was used to point out the ludicrous and blatantly sexist laws that are still in place in Saudi Arabia.
Because despite being able to operate a commercial plane, should any of the women have attempted to drive a road vehicle while in the kingdom, they would have faced immediate arrest.
Time to call your husband and ask for a lift home from work, ladies.
While technically there is no particular law in place that prohibits women from driving in Saudi Arabia, women are unable to apply for or obtain a driver’s licence and are arrested if found to be behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that does not allow women to drive, however the support for groups like Saudi Women to Drive are growing in popularity.
Bruneian Captain Sharifa Czarena Surainy became the first female captain of a Southeast Asian flag carrier airline three years ago.
Speaking to the Brunei Times upon her appointment in 2012, Surainy said “Being a pilot, people normally see it as being a male dominant occupation.
“As a woman, as a Bruneian woman, it is such a great achievement. It’s really showing the younger generation or the girls especially that whatever they dream of they can achieve it.”
Watch Captain Sharifa Czarena Surainy’s appointment in the video below (post continues after video)
Despite an increasing push to allow women to drive, Saudi officials have spent years citing all sorts of reasons for the driving ban.
The excuses range from fears driving will effect the positioning of a woman’s pelvis and cause childbirth complications to suggestions freedom behind the wheel will lead to freedom in the sheets.
Sounds like, smells like and looks like oppression to us, gentlemen.