Reema Al Juffali, only 26 years old, became the first female racecar driver in Saudi Arabia. She is breaking barriers and stereotypes, since October 2018 she earned a racer’s license and participated in competitive racing.
Saudi Arabia, a country which is opening up to the world at a fast pace, with many projects aiming at equality for all and a more sustainable economy, lifted the driving ban for women in mid-2018. Since then the Kingdom has been rapidly changing with Reema Al Juffali being the trend-setter – she is soon going to compete in the final round of the MRF Challenge. Being the first Saudi woman to become a professional racecar driver, she has had an incredible start of her career, quickly turning more and more heads as reported by Saudi Arabia Future.
The young female racecar driver began watching Formula One and got familiar with racing in college and after graduating, the first thing which she did was to race in a Formula car. Originally from Jeddah, she went abroad for her education before moving back to her home country where she pursued her dream. Talking to the Hindu, Reema Al Juffali explained about her experience:
“When I started, I only thought about myself and didn’t realize how my whole country was behind me. I was so humbled and honored to be that person. Like everyone else, I have my own goals, my passion, I want to become the best racer that I can be. And the fact that I can inspire others, it’s unbelievable. That would push me to do even more.”
Reema Al Juffali is giving a wonderful example for Saudi women and the opening of the country to the world, in line with Saudi Vision 2030, the primary objectives of it being: a vibrant society, a thriving economy and an ambitious nation. Indeed, the young female racecar driver is making a big change by breaking barriers and encouraging other women in the country to follow their passion and dreams. This social change may seem small to the Western world, but if we take a look at all the changes which have taken place only in the last year, we can’t miss noticing – the Kingdom is creating a dynamic new environment for its citizens.
When asked about the reactions of the society, Reema said “It has been overwhelmingly positive, like 95-98%. The negative comments are like a needle in the haystack.” She is definitely becoming a role model for other Saudi women. After racing for the Sean Edwards Foundation in Dubai, she is convinced that following her passion is going to impact the Kingdom in a positive way.
After all, Saudi’s first female racecar driver is one of only three GCC women to hold a race license. She finished third in the silver category of the TRD 86 Cup’s season-opener at Yas Marina Circuit and the best is yet to come for her, as well as for all women in the country. The Vision 2030 is racing at the same fast pace towards a brighter future for Saudi citizens