Women flocked to Le Mall in Jeddah on Thursday to check out the kingdom’s first car exhibition aimed at women, a few months after Saudi Arabia granted them the right to drive.
Pink, orange and yellow balloons hung in the mall’s showroom as women posed for photos and selfies in front of the cars.
One woman in the driver’s seat fixed her face cover. Another wrapped her turquoise-painted fingernails around the steering wheel, feeling it out.
In a decree issued in September, King Salman ordered by June an end to the ban on women drivers. “I’ve always been interested in cars, but we didn’t have the ability to drive,” said Ghada al-Ali, a customer.
“And now I’m very interested in buying a car but I would like the payments and prices to not be very high.” The exhibition focused on fuel-efficient cars and provided a team of saleswomen to help their new customer base.
The showroom carried signs emblazoned with the slogan “Drive and Shop”, a play on words in Arabic, using the female form of the verbs.
“It is known that women are the largest section who shop in malls,” said Sharifa Mohammad, the heads the exhibition’s saleswomen.
“This whole mall is run by women anyway. All the cashiers are women. Everyone in the restaurants are women.”