Gender equality takes a huge stride forward in Saudi Arabia

Women have only been allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia since 2018.

Human rights in the Middle East have for some time been behind the rest of the world, with women in particular not being given anywhere near the same opportunities as men.

In 2018 the Kingdom finally lifted their ban of female drivers, allowing them to drive on the streets of Saudi Arabia for the first time ever.

Now, the journey towards gender equality in the Kingdom has taken a huge leap forward as the FIA Girls on Track programme staged its second event of the season at the Diriyah E-prix in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.

This programme saw 120 girls aged between 12 and 18 take part in educational activities that enlightened them on the possibility of a career in motorsport on and off the track.

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Behind-the-scenes experiences and workshops gave the girls a level of exposure to motorsport that they have never had accessible to them before.

The roles that were focused on include driving, media and broadcasting, with female leaders such as Aseel Al-Hamad (Saudi Arabia’s representative in the FIA Women in Motorsport commission) and Dacey Lingley (Senior Event Manager, Formula E).

Deborah Mayer, the FIA Women in Motorsport president has spoken about how proud she is to see the programme working so well.

“I am delighted that the 5th season of FIA Girls on Track is off to an excellent start,” she said.

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“Thanks to the collaboration between the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission and Formula E, thousands of young women around the world have already been able to discover motorsport and get an overview of all possible careers in its industry.

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“Through this initiative and others to come, our Commission will continue to spread the message that opportunities exist and contribute to increasing the number of women in the paddocks in key roles.”

The next FIA Girls on Track events will take place in Sao Paulo and Jakarta, as the FIA continues its push to achieve equality in motorsport.

The FIA will hope that these programmes reassure fans that they are focused on gender equality, after sexist comments re-emerged from over 20 years ago by their president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.