Sunday, 23 September, 2018

Women driving in Iran: Things you need to know

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Iran is a Persian nation where women can do many things that they cannot do in some other neighboring countries.

In contrast to countries like Saudi Arabia that prohibit women from obtaining drivers’ licenses, women in Iran have been driving for many years.

A woman drives in front of an advertising billboard for Bulgari watches in northern Tehran, Iran, Saturday, July 18, 2015. While it will likely be months before sanctions on Iran ease, business and political leaders are wasting no time in trying to tap into a large and what they hope will be a lucrative Iranian market. Ads for European cars and luxury goods are starting to reappear in Tehran. American firms, though, have to be much more cautious. Deal or no deal, U.S. sanctions not related to the nuclear program will still be in place and bar most American companies from doing business with Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Iranian women are still banned from riding a motorbike in public and are not able to get licenses. However, they can often be seen perched on the back, sometimes with one or two small children in their arms, as their husband weaves through the Iranian traffic.

Women in Iran are simply better drivers than men drivers. A lot of the men drivers are young and impatient, and they’re not disciplined.

توقيف زن عربستاني به جرم رانندگي

In a major city like Tehran, where the population—and number of cars on the road—continually increases, and where some commutes within the boundaries of the city itself can take up to two hours each way, the use of taxis is an integral part of the city’s transportation system. And now women are benefiting from the potential profits in this sector of the economy.

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There’s a taxi company in Tehran that is run by women and staffed by women drivers. It’s called Women’s Taxis and it employs around 700 drivers.

Most of the drivers own their vehicles, buying from the agency and paying them off in installments.

Tehran, IRAN:  Iranian taxi driver Sodabeh Kiyali waits for a passenger on one of Tehran's main roads 14 December 2006. Iran has launched a women-only taxi agency in southern Tehran for passengers who want safer rides in a city where men and women are often squeezed in together in shared cabs. Passengers in the Islamic republic travel in segregated buses, with women sitting in the back, but they share taxis with three people squeezed together on the back seat. Women can choose between female-only and mixed wagons on subway trains.  AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE  (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

Taxi Transportation Agency began granting taxi licenses to women in Tehran in 2006, though the prevalence of women taxi drivers has become apparent only within the last couple years. Tehran was not the first city to make this change in policy, however. The holy city of Mashhad may have been the first, possibly as early as the late nineties, followed by the holy city of Qom.

A woman, off course, is required to show proof that her husband has given his permission for her to drive taxis, much like how, under Iranian law, a woman must get her husband’s permission to obtain a passport to travel outside of the country.

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Some women drivers are war widows or divorcees who really need the work to support their families and provide for their children.

Even a few number of women are now becoming bus drivers.

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In some rich neighborhoods of northern Tehran, a city of 12 million, it is not uncommon to see women drivers’ scarves around their shoulders.

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However, women drivers in Iran’s capital could have their cars impounded by police if they are caught driving with a poorly fixed veil or without their heads covered.

 

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