Women in Saudi Arabia: A slow drive to more freedom
A student at the female-only campus of Effat University, sits for the first time in the driver's seat, during training sponsored by Ford Motor, in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, March 6, 2018. A stunning royal decree issued last year by King Salman announcing that women would be allowed to drive in 2018 upended one of the most visible forms of discrimination against women in Saudi Arabia.
Students at the female-only campus of Effat University, take part in driver training sponsored by Ford Motor, in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, March 6, 2018.
A Saudi woman poses for a photo with a certificate after completing a driving course in Jeddah on March 7, 2018.
Saudi women chek out cars for sale at a car showroom during Al-Janadria festival near Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Feb, 16, 2018.
Saudi chef Noura Almoammar (L) puts the last touches to a dish before service at her newly opened healthy food restaurant Dayem O Amer, DOA in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 20, 2018. Noura is a granddaughter of a former Saudi King. With her close family support, and in a rare move for somebody of her social origins, she chose from very early on to start an independent professional carrier in a completely different field. She trained at Le Cordon Bleu Paris gastronomy school and worked in big restaurants. Noura wanted to combine her love for cooking, hosting people and professional fulfillment with contributing to fix the lack of healthy food in Jeddah. Noura opened her restaurant DOA (a Saudi Arabic expression meaning long lasting and enjoying fully) with a friend at a soft opening in February 2018.
Saudi women jog in the streets of Jeddah's historic al-Balad district on March 8, 2018.
Saudi designer Eman Joharji amid her creations at her shop in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Feb. 21, 2018. Joharji started designing her own sports Abayas (tradional black cloak worn by women in many Gulf countries) to fulfill her and her friends needs for a more practical outfit that would suit the conservative nature of Saudi Arabia and the need of women to practice sports outdoors. She started by creating jump suit like outfits that ensured women could use bicycles, run and practice whatever activity they wanted without attracting disapproval in the streets. Her business developed by word of mouth and she now caters to many customers inside and outside the kingdom and transforms the traditionally black Abaya into a colorful, trendy and more practical item for those who feel they need it. The creations she designs are not only for sports but also trendy, embroidered, or anti-mosquito dresses made with different cloth materials from cotton to silk. A group of Saudi women planning to take part in a first time mixed marathon have asked for designs and Joharji is very exited about the prospect.
Saudi female fans watch the AFC Champions League soccer match between Saudi al-Hilal and Qatari al-Rayyan at the King Saudi University stadium in Riyadh on March 6, 2018.
Saudi Arabia allowed women to enter a soccer stadium for the first time to watch a match on Jan. 12, 2018, as the ultra-conservative kingdom eases strict decades-old rules separating the sexes.
Women buy tickets from a designated kiosk to attend a Saudi league soccer match between Al Hilal and Al Ittihad, at King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 13, 2018. Saudi Arabia for the first time allowed women to watch soccer games at sports stadiums. They will be segregated from the male-only crowd with designated seating in the so-called 'family section'.
A young fan of Al-Hilal cheers outside King Fahd Stadium before attending a Saudi league soccer match in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Jan. 13, 2018.
Saudi women take part in a "green walk" calling for environmental conservation, on March 8, 2018 in the Red Sea resort of Jeddah.
Saudi gym owner Hala al-Hamrani, 41, trains in her 'Flagboxing' gym center in Jeddah on Feb. 19, 2018.
Hala al-Hamrani, owner of the gym since 2003, is the first female kickboxing and boxing trainer in the Saudi Kingdom.
The aim of Flagboxing is "to reinforce the belief that women are perfectly strong and capable in their own right," al-Hamrani says.
Women get ready for a training session at the 'Flagboxing' gym in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Feb. 19, 2018.
A Saudi woman sells coffee mugs and cups with female faces drawings on them during the Al-Janadria festival near Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Feb. 17, 2018.