Ford and Effat University
Further Women Empowerment Efforts with Global Debut of Ford Driving
Skills for Life for Her in Saudi Arabia on International Women’s Day
Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) For Her – the first event of its kind
since the historic royal decree to lift ban on females obtaining a
driving license in Saudi Arabia – made its global debut this week at
Jeddah’s Effat University.
customized version of Ford’s award-winning global initiative helps
build confidence behind the wheel as these women prepare for their
journey to acquire their driving license.
More than 250 students are among the first graduates of the program, coinciding with International Women’s Day.
Dr. Haifa Al-Lail: “Women driving will have a tremendous impact on the Saudi economy with a predicted return of SR 33 billion.”
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, March 7, 2018 – In their continued efforts to further empower women, Ford Motor Company and Jeddah-based Effat University
this week complete the inaugural session of Ford Driving Skills for
Life for Her, a special variation of Ford’s globally renowned and
award-winning safe driving program for teens and new drivers, Driving
Skills for Life. The program – specially designed to accommodate Saudi
female students embarking on their journey to acquire a driver’s license
– made its global debut out of the Kingdom this week, coinciding with
International Women’s Day, with more than 250 female students
Ford Driving Skills for Life for Her marks the second
initiative the company has launched in Saudi Arabia aimed at empowering
women and giving them the skills they need to embark on their journey
with confidence. Last year, Ford Fund – the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company – debuted its Henry Ford Entrepreneurship Academy in the Middle East, also at Effat University, providing 50 Saudi female entrepreneurs with the tools and knowledge needed to sustain their businesses.
access to opportunities for people to reach their full potential is
core to our mission and Ford’s goal of becoming the world’s most trusted
mobility company,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Fund.
visiting the Kingdom specifically to mark this momentous week, Vella
added: “The fact that the program takes place around International
Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic and cultural
achievements of women, is no coincidence. We are thrilled to be part of
this historical milestone as we bring Ford Driving Skills for Life for
Her to Saudi Arabia, to help young female drivers feel safe and
confident behind the wheel for the first time, and we look forward to
welcoming a new generation of women to the driver’s seat.”
Dr. Haifa Reda Jamal Al-Lail , president of Effat University,
said: “Statistics show that women are generally safer and more
defensive drivers than men. At Effat University, we are determined that
this becomes the case also here. We want women to be behind the wheel,
and so we are looking forward to working with all elements of society to
improve the safety of all citizens on the road. The Ford Driving Skills
for Life program is a step in this direction.”
Dr. Al-Lail went
on to say: “Women driving in Saudi Arabia is not a simple societal
change and reform, but it is also a ‘jump start to the Kingdom’s
economy. 87.2 percent of Saudi families have personal chauffeurs that
cost them a minimum of SR 20,400 annually in addition to accommodation
and food. An impressive statistic that illustrates the benefits of women
driving is the tremendous impact it will have on the Saudi economy with
a predicted return of SR 33 billion. Having women as drivers will only
grow and diversify the Kingdom’s economy. Auto sales will sky rocket
along with auto insurance, thus increasing the contributions of women to
the Saudi economy.
“Women driving is a boundless pool of
socio-economic opportunities that is yet to be realized and soon enough.
As a result of this historical decree more women will join the
workforce and feel more empowered and in control of their day to day
activities as they will no longer be dependent on others to get their
errands done and commute to and from work, among other matters.”
Held between March 5-8, Ford Driving Skills for Life for Her is training more than 250 eager Effat University students,
incorporating vital skills necessary for new drivers, tips from highly
skilled experts, and a deep understanding of safe driving practices,
which is of paramount importance for new drivers as they take to the
roads for the first time.
The different modules of this new
customized introductory program have been created with the future
first-time drivers in the Kingdom in mind.
The sessions include:
About Your Vehicle – where students are taught the fundamentals of
preparing to drive, such as the importance of adjusting seating
position, checking mirrors, and placing hands at the correct point on
the steering wheel
Braking – which allows students the
learning opportunity to safely control the car from being in motion,
bringing it to a complete stop, preparing these new drivers to take to
the road with confidence
Driver distraction – stressing the
importance of staying focused on the road at all times, highlighting
through practical, hands-on experience the dangers of driving
distracted. In Saudi Arabia alone, close to 7,500 road deaths in 2017* have been attributed the use of mobile phones while driving.
the program, female students also had the chance to wear
specially-designed ‘fatal vision goggles’ – which mimic the effect of
tiredness or drowsiness – as well as the unique ‘nighttime goggles’ that
create conditions synonymous with driving on darker roads, which so
often requires added attention and focus due to limited lighting.
Shams Hakim, a Business HR student at Effat University
who is participating in the program commented: “I’ve always been a
passenger in the car and can’t wait to get behind the wheel! As well as
being excited, I have had some apprehension about what is actually
involved in driving. Ford Driving Skills for Life for Her has given me
the confidence and education I need for the journey that lies ahead to
obtain my license.”
More than 9,000 people were killed in car accidents in Saudi Arabia in 2016**,
mainly due to speeding – an average of over 25 per day – a figure sure
to cause concern for new drivers and their families. With Driving Skills
for Life, Ford aims to instill safe driving practices early on with
younger drivers, male or female.
Ford also intends
to make the new Driving Skills for Life for Her an on-going program for
the Kingdom’s female drivers, with phase two coming later this year to Effat University, and expanding to other institutions across the Kingdom in the future.
signature program of the Ford Fund, Driving Skills for Life is an
international initiative for road safety created in cooperation with the
Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and a panel of safety
experts. The award-winning program captures newly licensed drivers’
interest with free, hands-on ride-and-drive courses that pair new
drivers with professional driving instructors and focus on the issues
and obstacles that cause crashes, including impaired and distracted
Now in its 15th year, Ford Driving Skills
for Life has provided free training to more than one million
newly-licensed drivers in more than 40 countries worldwide. In total,
Ford has invested more than $50 million in DSFL initiatives globally as
part of its long-standing commitment to promoting safety on the road.
its Middle East launch in 2013, more than 3,600 students have
participated in Ford’s Driving Skills for Life program, with sessions in
three different cities across Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
last year alone.
Driving Skills for Life for her
is part of Ford’s global commitment to providing access and
opportunities for women. From its Empower-Her female entrepreneur
program to projects focused on helping end human trafficking, as well as
numerous initiatives that provide professional development and
leadership training, Ford Fund has long supported programs that help
women succeed by overcoming social, educational and financial