Massive turnout for Saudi women at the first GCC women’s motor show
On May 15, 2018, Riyadh saw its first motor show for women, “Pinkish”, at the capital’s International Convention and Exhibition Center. The show is the first of its kind both in the Kingdom and in the GCC region, and it opened to overwhelming success and rave reviews.
Over a space extending to 15,000 square meters, the exhibition drew in the participation of over 80,000 visitors, both men and women. Designed as a platform for women to connect with automotive dealerships across the Kingdom, it also provided visitors with educational kits around driving license processes and qualifications, as well as with knowledge around Saudi traffic and driving rules and regulations, insurance policies, and car accessories.
The exhibition, which began last Sunday and concluded on Tuesday, saw the strong presence of both male and female visitors, as well as by media outlets. Exhibitors also showed up in droves, with nearly 48 financing companies, banks, car dealerships, rental agencies and gas stations taking part in the show.
Some of the largest auto brands joined them, showcasing a wide array of vehicles tailored to Saudi women, as well as luxury cars. In parallel, the show held several learning sessions for women to guide them through automotive decision-making, and covered several family entertainment functions.
On-site training provided to visiting women was designed in cooperation with four Saudi female trainers who held international driving licenses. The trainers supported and motivated women as they took them through real and simulated driving experiences around the exhibition area.
In the driver’s seat
In the lead-up to the exhibition, organizers had been stressing on the educational, experiential and knowledge value derived from the event; its core campaign focusing on supporting Saudi future female drivers, with taglines such as “Saudi Women in the Driver’s Seat”, and “Enjoy the Ride, the Road is as Big as Your Dreams”.
Exhibition participants praised the unique experience, and the attention given to them throughout the event. Saudi Lama Al Sabbagh, one of the show’s visitors, was one participant who took a car for a spin in the show’s dedicated training areas; she says the happiness she felt while driving – for the second time in her life, at that - was indescribable, adding: “It is crucial to have the guts and have no fear from anything”.
The show came to life with the support and robust backing of the Riyadh emirate, as well as the General Security-affiliated General Traffic Authority, the Saudi General Entertainment Authority, the Ministry of Commerce and Investment, the Ministry of Culture and Information, and the General Sport Authority.
Upon attending the show, Engineer Salman bin Mohsen Al-Dalaan, director general of the Ministry of Transport in Riyadh, said that the ministry seeks to raise the level of road safety by investing into traffic infrastructure – including road and warning signs – asserting that the framework and authorities have been well equipped to welcome and support future female drivers in the Kingdom.
The “Pinkish” show coincides with Saudi Arabia’s recent on-the-road efforts to speak to future women drivers; a series of traffic signs have been dispersed across the Kingdom’s main streets, speaking openly and directly with Saudi women. It is a first and milestone move for the Kingdom in moving on-the-ground progress for women’s driving ban lift after its corresponding decree was released last year.
The road and traffic signs addressed both male and female drivers distinctly with messages on traffic regulations and road safety. As soon as they were put up, pictures of the signs were shared on social media. The social community, and particularly women praised the Saudi leadership’s commitment to encourage and motivate them to drive safely on the roads.
It is only a few weeks until the decision lifting the enduring driving ban on women in Saudi Arabia comes into effect on June 23, 2018. In the lead-up to this momentous event, the Saudi leadership has taken on a number of measures and preparations to what will be, without a doubt, a radical development in Saudi women’s daily lives.