No Female Drivers Allowed in Baja Rally Championship

It's hard to imagine that there are still countries in this world where women are banned from driving nowadays. However, as incredible as it may seem, a round of the Baja Rally Championship was cancelled from the calendar because the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation didn't accept a woman's application to compete in its local event, has learned.

The organizers of the four-day-event excluded a Russian woman from the competition because the kingdom bans women from driving.

Following the discriminatory gesture, the event won't be held any longer and no championship points will be given to the Hail Baja Rally. In addition,  the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation agreed with the FIA to change the rally to a stand-alone event.

The driving ban dates back to the establishment of the state in 1932, although recently the government line has weakened. Saudi conservatives and religious scholars have long argued that giving women the right to drive will lead to a "Western-style" erosion of morality and a loss of traditional values. They believe that women behind the wheel will be tempted by all sorts of sinful situations.

Among these situations, they note the following: women drivers will be free to leave home alone, will expose their eyes while driving and will interact with male strangers, such as traffic police and mechanics.

More importantly, the prohibition forces families to hire male drivers, while those who can not afford the luxury to have a personal driver must rely on relatives to take them to work, the doctor or shopping.

Although Saudi Arabian women have many times protested against this unfair treatment and the government promised to lift the country's ban, no improvement could be seen in this area so far.
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