A battle I must fight! A Woman Driving Her Car
Mohammed Mahros

“I used to be at home very late, and my family lived in anxiety until I arrived. In addition, I live in an area not far from the military confrontations that occur from time to time west of the city of Taiz.” This was what motivated Ashwaq Abdel Jalil to buy a car. She was forced to learn to drive and embark on a journey that she describes as both arduous and enjoyable.

Six months ago, she bought her car and enlisted the help of her friends, who were quick to help and teach her so that she could drive the car Ashwaq, in addition to being an assistant principal in a government school, works as a social activist, focusing her efforts on normalizing life and helping the needy, including displaced people, teachers, and students

What she did not take into account when she bought the car and started driving was that she would become a rebel in the eyes of some, and she would hear more expressions of sarcasm and belittlement from those who did not like what she was doing and offering to her community., She used to be considered a positive female role model. Since the outbreak of war in the city of Taiz, southwest of the country in March 2015, she has provided and continued to offer assistance

I had fears that if the car or tire broke down, how would I solve the problem in the streets while the men’s gazes were following me, but it was easier than I expected, and I found that the men were cooperative in this aspect,” Ashwaq told us..
In her story, Ashwaq discusses her most prominent fears, particularly the negatives she faces while driving a car. She expresses these fears by saying: “We encounter frustrations, and bad words, such as: How is ‘hurma’: a woman driving? In addition, we face many obstructions in the traffic. It is said that the reason for this is that a woman cannot drive a car, even if the man is at fault.”

In Ashwaq’s view, many men do not abide by the traffic rules, speeding, racing, reckless driving, and driving without warning lights or looking in the mirror.

Close to that, Suhair Abdel-Jabbar, a journalist specializing in gender issues, believes that a woman who owns a car is exploited by engineers and the fees for providing any service to her are increased compared to men, and this is unacceptable treatment for her. Suhair speaks about the fact that many families now welcome their girls driving cars for several reasons, most importantly the feeling of independence and security, apart from any other considerations.

Ashwaq believes she has overcome most of men's bullying and contempt towards her, but she still experiences harassment and violations from motorcyclists who are not held accountable.

’’I overcome everything by taking a deep breath and saying to myself: A battle that I must fight.’ This phrase sums up her message and indicates the magnitude of the challenges she likened to an inevitable battle.

Share this post
Our voices: Voices of Gender Based violence Female survivors