BEAVERTON, Ore. - American women are driving some pretty big changes in Saudi Arabia— literally!
In the next few days, three female driving instructors from the pacific northwest are heading to the middle east to teach new drivers the rules of the road. Their students live in the only country where women are banned from driving. This summer, that changes.
Lois Lents says, "I am humbled to be standing at this historic moment and to play any part in it at all."
In Saudi Arabia, women are only allowed to teach other women. That`s a bit of a speed bump because there are no female driving instructors in the entire country.
The trio behind Driving Solutions International in Oregon just got the call a month ago. They got in gear quickly. "First it was Saudi Arabia! You got to be kidding me!" says Lents. "And then it was like yes, oh yes, I'll go."
Sheryl Vanderwalker says, "They estimate that 9 million of them want to drive right now."
The women will spend 10 days in class now, and they`re hoping for a green light to return later this spring to work with the Saudi women behind the wheel.
Dominique Kuzmaak says, "There will be a group of people that do not want this change to happen and we need to get it right so that we can prove that it works."
Learning to drive could provide an open road for those fighting for gender equality in a part of the world where the wheels of progress move slowly. "We're starting from ground zero."
These three don't plan to put on the brakes until all the female Saudi drivers are up to speed.