New driving school in Egypt hopes to turn the tide for female drivers

CAIRO -- Twenty million people compete for space on the crowded roads of Cairo, Egypt -- and while getting a driver's license there is easy, many drivers have no formal training. But there soon could be change coming down the road.

Eman Rawy tried getting driving lessons from her husband. But that didn't quite work out.

"I ask the internet, okay," Rawy told us.

Like many Egyptian women, Rawy wasn't willing to be alone in a car with a male instructor. She even brought her husband to meet us.

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Eman Rawy with CBS News' Brook Silva-Draga

CBS News

That lack of instruction gives women drivers a bad reputation in Egypt.

Rawy says she struggled behind the wheel for eight years. Then she heard an ad on the radio placed by Nayroud Talaat.

Direxiona, her all-female driving school which was founded last year, promises a more welcoming place to learn.

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Direxiona is an all-female driving school in Egypt.

CBS News

"Many of the girls are terribly afraid.  Afraid of just starting the engine," Talaat told CBS News.

Cairo's roads will give any driver a fright. Chaotic and congested: with pedestrians … everywhere.

Ghada Mohamed is one of Direxiona's 20 instructors and took us along for a ride.

Are there rules here we asked.

"No, wherever you can go," Mohamed said.

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Nayroud Talaat

CBS News

So pedestrians are allowed to be walking right through the street?

"They are allowed," she responded. "Nobody says, no you have to stop. Nobody told them ... you have to stop until the traffic changes and you pass."

Cairo's roads may remain a mess, but Talaat doesn't want women blamed for it anymore. So far, 150 have been taught by Direxiona.

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A Direxiona trainee

CBS News

"We have a bigger goal than just giving the service," Talaat said. "We want to make something that change  this stereotype and change this bad reputation."

"I'm so happy because I learned with Direxiona," Eman said.

Rawy -- who for years didn't take the car outside her neighborhood -- is now working part time as a driver for an Egyptian ride-sharing service.

You're a good driver now. You're speaking English and you're driving.

"It's good?" she asked us. "Easy. Yes!"

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Crowded street in Cairo, Egypt.

CBS News