Southern province offers women free courses to obtain driving license

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Azzaman, January 5, 2016

The authorities in Basra want to break men’s monopoly of driving cars on the streets of this southern province.

There are no laws preventing women from driving in Iraq, but in certain areas and due to the rise in Islamic militancy one can rarely see a woman driver.

The Basra provincial authorities are keen to see as many women drivers on the street as possible and are raising resources to provide women with free driving courses.

“We will first start with female teachers and help them get their driving licenses free of charge,” said Amatar al-Mimahi. “The training and issuing of licenses will be done with coordination with the traffic police department in the province.”

Mimahi heads maternity and women section in the provincial council. She says the council has approved her proposal to encourage women to drive.

Women teachers across the province have received the news with glee.

Nauras Kamel described the measure as “a positive step.”

She said: “Driving cars by women is seen today as a sign of a civil and democratic society besides owning a car today is part of the job and daily life.”

Teachers’ Union in the province has thrown its weight behind the measure.

“The union supports all efforts aimed at boosting of Basra women in the society,” said the union’s head, Jawad al-Marboush.