“We shouldn’t let our fears get in the way of change.”
The end of Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving is just weeks away — come June 24, women in the kingdom will be able to get behind the wheel.
It’s been an international news story, and within Saudi Arabia, officials say they’re ready to go.
Now, an advertisement from oil company Shell has addressed how Saudi men feel about the change.
The clip shows five men from various walks of life being driven around and asked for their thoughts on the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s historic move.
At first, they express fears for the women in their lives.
“Driving in Saudi isn’t easy,” says one man. “I’m not questioning women’s ability to drive. I’m just worried for their safety,” adds another.
“But we shouldn’t let our fears stand in the way of change,” he continues.
Here’s the full clip:
From there, the men reflect on the strength and determination of women they’re close to.
“My sister’s a pilot for crying out loud! How can she be told she can’t drive a car?” asks one.
“Women helped drive entire generations. Why can’t they be trusted behind a steering wheel?”
In an emotional moment as the ad finishes, the men are dropped in front of a screen showing photos of their wives, mothers, sisters and daughters. Then, those women surprise them by getting into the car — in the driver’s seat.
The men’s careers run along the bottom of the screen. Among the group there is a doctor, a TV personality, a hip hop artist, and even an international rollerblader.
In April, offers for free driving lessons spread across social media in the kingdom, with the aim of offsetting the high price of official classes.
The initiative, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aims to make Saudi a more modern, tourist-friendly destination.
Under the plans, women will be able to attend sports events in stadiums in three cities from this year, and female students in the kingdom are now allowed to carry their phones while on campus.
Additionally, more Saudi females have been appointed to top jobs, a royal directive allowed women to use certain government services without a male guardian’s consent, and recent approval was issued for the go-ahead of women’s gyms.