Saudi Woman Gets Free Mustang After Years of Campaigning for Equal Rights
Ford Mustang reached out to the Saudi rights activist on Twitter.
Sahar Nassif is soon going to get her dream car: a Ford Mustang.
But this prize is unique in a few ways. For one, Ford is giving her the car for free. More importantly, this gift would have been impossible just last week.
Nassif is from Saudi Arabia and until a royal decree was passed last week, women were banned from driving in the country.
She’s been an advocate for women’s rights for many years, according to the BBC, and the decree was a cause for celebration.
“I’m really thrilled, everybody’s so thrilled – I’m so excited I don’t know what to do,” she told the BBC. “I’m going to buy a Mustang!”
Little did she know, she would get a Ford Mustang — free of charge from Ford Middle East.
On Twitter, Ford tweeted: “Hi @Da7eyatAlmojtam [Sahar’s Twitter handle], we’d like to give you your dream car.” They then added the hashtag #MustangSahar.
Nassif responded with happy emojis: “I’m soooo excited! Another dream come true looool’ she wrote.”Wherever I go and see a Mustang I say ‘that’s my car’!!”
Thank you sooooo much... I'm soooo excited!Another dream come true looool👏👏👏👏👏😍👍👍👍👍😍😍😍😍🤗🤗— سحر حسن نصيف (@Da7eyatAlmojtam) September 29, 2017
Wherever I go & c a Mustang I say that's my car!!
An outspoken activist, Nassif, 63, was arrested in 2013 for posting a video of herself on YouTube illegally driving in Saudi Arabia. She told Metro News that people were “nice and encouraging” seeing a woman behind the wheel in a vehicle.
“That is, until a police car turned up and signalled at me to pull over to the side of the road,” she told Metro News. “Then suddenly six more police cars came. I was made to feel like a drug dealer.”
Nassif is one of many other female activists who were arrested for driving in Saudi Arabia, but they can all now enjoy greater independence by driving themselves to work, shop, run errands, and take care of other activities.
Long criticized for being the only country in the world that banned women from driving, the decree is part of a series of measures intended to improve women’s rights in the country.
There’s also an economic component to this expansion of rights: the new rule is expected to boost Saudi Arabia’s economy, an issue outlined in their Vision 2030 Plan to transform Saudi Arabia.
According to Gulf News, car sales are expected to surge by 50% in Saudi Arabia.
NBC News reported that the Saudi automotive market is currently down by more than 10% and not recovering, according to a global auto tracking service Focus2Go.
Dave Sargent, head of automotive research at J.D. Power told NBC News that automakers won’t increase shipments to Saudi Arabia until they are sure about what the new rules mean for overall car sales, and which cars Saudi women will most likely purchase.
The rule will also play an important role in boosting employment rates and creation of new jobs, according to the government.
Employment opportunities will increase for women in the transportation sector for companies such as Uber and Kareem, which might hire more female drivers.
Saudi officials will develop training programs for women drivers before the new decree goes into effect in June 2018.
For women like Nassif, the historic nature of the decree is still sinking in. One thing is for sure: she can’t wait to drive.
"Young people don't want to live the way we lived. They want to live better. They want to live how other people are living," Nassif told NBC News.
Global Citizen campaigns on gender equality around the world, including in the Level the Law campaign launched in conjunction with CHIME FOR CHANGE that works to get countries to treat women fairly under the law. You can take action here.