Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving

28 September, 2017, 00:15 | Author: Courtney Perry
  • PA Archive  PA Images
Prime Minister Theresa May meets King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia in Manama Bahrain

To celebrate Tuesday's decree, several Saudi women posted images on social media deleting their ride sharing apps.

Sharif, a prominent Saudi activist born in the holy city of Mecca, is among the many women who had taken the driving ban head on.

Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, also welcomed the Saudi decision, writing on Twitter that it represented "an important step in the right direction". More than 20 years later, a woman was sentenced in 2011 to 10 lashes for driving, though the late King Abdullah overturned the sentence.

"This decree is huge for Saudi Arabia", BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says. However, this is about to change effective June 2018.

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive.

This will certainly start a positive transformation in many aspects of the Saudi society.

Salman says women won't need permission legally from a male guardian to get a driver's license and won't need a guardian in the vehicle with them to drive.

She also warned that the decision was aimed at diverting attention from Saudi Arabian human rights abuses, such as the arrest of political dissidents.


Ambassador Khaled said in a statement an hour later how it was a "historic and big day for the kingdom".

Saudi King Salman yesterday ordered that women be allowed to drive cars for the first time in the next summer, ending a conservative tradition seen by women's rights activists.

Despite these openings, Saudi women remain largely subject to the whims of men due to guardianship laws, which bar them from obtaining a passport, travelling overseas or marrying without the consent of a male relative.

Women's rights activists since the 1990s have been pushing for the right to drive, saying it represents their larger struggle for equal rights under the law.

This year, the government announced that for the first time girls in public schools would be allowed to play sports and have access to physical education.

Numerous kingdom's professionals and young people will welcome the change, viewing it as a step to making life in the country a bit more like life elsewhere. But Nauert isn't commenting on whether Saudi Arabia still needs to do more to ensure full rights for its female citizens.

In world, Saudi Arabia, only country where women are prohibited from driving, was not able to make a legal change due to fatigue of High Level Scholars Board as "Women are not allowed to drive". The decision highlights the damage that the ban on women driving has done to the kingdom's worldwide reputation and its hopes for a public relations benefit from the reform. Many working Saudi women spend much of their salaries on drivers or must be driven to work by male relatives.

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