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Arab News marks lifting of Saudi driving ban with cover by renowned artist

Arab News today marks a historic milestone for Saudi Arabia with a special edition featuring work by renowned illustrator Malika Favre, as women in the Kingdom take to the road for the first time in decades.

The Riyadh-based newspaper is marking the lifting of the ban on women driving with a special edition featuring a wraparound cover by the artist, along with a raft of features about what the move means for Saudi society.

The special souvenir edition is published on June 24, alongside special coverage at and via the newspaper’s social media channels.

The newspaper commissioned the French illustrator Malika Favre, known for her work for The New Yorker and Vanity Fair, to create a special work called “Start Your Engines,” for a poster that will wrap the print edition.

Read: Saudi broadcaster Samar Fatany: ‘The right for women to drive is essential’

It will be distributed in cities including New York, Washington, and London —

alongside its daily sales points in the Arabian Gulf.

The cover illustration of a Saudi woman behind the wheel will also be available online for download at

“As a champion of women for years through her unique creative style, Malika Favre was the obvious choice,” said Simon Khalil, Arab News’ global creative director.

“Her illustration brilliantly captures the significance of this moment on the day Saudi Arabia changed forever.”

Illustrator Malika Favre said: “I wanted to create a positive and celebratory cover image to mark that crucial day. Our heroine is driving on the open Saudi road and driving towards a better future.”

Read: Three things a woman driver in Saudi can start doing this week

As women across the Kingdom got behind the wheel for the first time in their home country, many Saudis told Arab News about their first journeys.

One to hit the road after midnight was Lina Almaeena, a member of the Saudi Shoura Council. “It feels very liberating,” she said about driving her mother’s Lexus.

Almaeena, also the co-founder and director of Jeddah United Sports Co, had
exchanged her UAE license for a Saudi one.

Arab News’ senior editor in Dubai, Mo Gannon (a Canadian national) was also among the first women to drive in Saudi Arabia as she took to the wheel shortly after midnight to report from the streets of the coastal city of Jeddah.

“This is a game-changer for Saudi women and their country, a historic moment that we at Arab News will always remember. I was honored to be a small part of it when I took staff on a midnight drive, where I was welcomed with waves and thumbs-up from women and men in their cars,” said Gannon.

“One female colleague had never been driven by a woman before, and yet soon she will be able to drive herself. That, to me, illustrates the scope of this change.”

Arab News’ full coverage of women driving in Saudi Arabia can be read online at

EXCLUSIVE: “Now, I have a choice.” One Saudi woman talks driving


Established in 1975, Arab News is the Middle East’s leading English-language daily. As “The Voice of a Changing Region,” the newspaper is renowned for providing the Arab perspective on international affairs via its network of reporters, opinion writers and analysts. It is considered the newspaper of record on major Arab affairs for a large number of global media outlets, governments and academic institutions.