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February 12, 2009

Taking the Wheel

How women around the world are putting the pedal to the metal.

driving a stick shift

How to Drive a Stick Shift

Photo Credit: Daniel Timiraos/iStock

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UNITED KINGDOM: A new car insurance issued by women, for women, offers handbag coverage, female-friendly auto mechanics, and 24-hour on-call counselors for help with questions "related to driving or not."

SWITZERLAND: Shopping centers that offer women's-only parking spaces close to stores to ensure shoppers' safety after dark are trying to shame men from parking there — some even painting spaces pink and decorating them with flowers.

MOLDOVA: Even though licensed male drivers vastly outnumber female ones, twice the number of women as men applied for their licenses last year.

SAUDI ARABIA: After a woman posted a YouTube video of herself leisurely driving a car in the last country where it is illegal for women to do so, the viral video became a rallying cry for Saudi women's-rights activists.

TURKEY: A members-only women's car service uses pink BMWs stocked with disposable cosmetics, healthy snacks, and magazines, and employs only female drivers trained in self-defense.

CHINA: 25 percent of Ferrari owners here are women, compared with 10 percent in North America.

NEW ZEALAND: Last November, after an Auckland man raped a woman in his car, then fell asleep, she drove him to a nearby police station, where he was promptly arrested.

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