Saudi Arabia Finally Will Let Women Drive

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King Salman Tuesday lifted ban on the interdiction for women to drive in kingdom as part of the steady improvement of women's right in the most conservative Arabian Sunni country.

The topic has always been a controversial one for the Middle Eastern region and recently, Saudi cleric Saad al-Hijri spoke out against allowing women to drive because their brains were "a quarter the size" of men's.

Prince Khaled bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, said: "This is a historic big day in our kingdom", while briefing with reporters.

In July, the co-founder Mudassir Sheikha told The National how he aimed to expand in Saudi Arabia to take advantage of the fact that women were not allowed to drive.

"It is a testament to the bravery of women activists who have been campaigning for years that the government of Saudi Arabia has finally relented and made a decision to permit women to drive", said Philip Luther, Amnesty's Research and Advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Saudi Arabia is one of the largest markets for Careem, one of the Middle East's most successful tech start-ups, which offers services in more than 50 cities across the kingdom. Recent months have seen live concert performances in Riyadh - albeit to male-only audiences - while the powers of the once-omnipresent religious police have been curtailed.

"Since that day, Saudi women have been asking for the right to drive, and, finally, it arrived", she said by phone. The government ministries will prepare reports within 30 days and the order will be implemented by June 2018.




King Salman ordered the reform on Tuesday night and the new law will be implemented by June 24, 2018.

The move was welcomed by the U.S. State department.

Saudi's move to allow women to drive was welcomed by the worldwide community, and represents a significant for women activists in Saudi Arabia, and paves way for their ongoing struggle to fight for equal rights in the nation.

Saudi Arabia remains a male-dominated society.

Ahead of the new policy, traffic laws will be amended to include things such as the ability for men and women to obtain government-issued licenses. The news has led to much appreciation from women within the country as well as from equal rights activists across the world. "This was the one file and issue which Saudi women have fought not just years, but decades for". Although such a declaration seems, to us, outlandish, a shocking number of people supported the cleric's statement on social media, with the hashtag "Al-Hijri is the woman, not against her' used on 20,000 tweets".

Letting women drive could eventually raise pressure to remove other obstacles to their employment, such as a male guardianship system that requires women to have a male relative's approval for most decisions on education, employment, marriage, travel plans and even medical treatment.

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