Saudi women will finally be allowed on the roads, as a long-standing driving ban has been lifted.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has decreed that women will now be permitted to drive. The decision was announced by Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN.
Up until today, Saudi Arabia remained the only country in the world which banned women from driving a car. They will now be permitted to take lessons without male permission, and to drive to any destination which they desire.
Activists and politicians alike have been praising the move, which they see as a landmark gesture in furthering equal rites in the country.
Campaigner Sahar Nassif told the BBC from Jeddah that she was “very, very excited – jumping up and down and laughing”.
“I’m going to buy my dream car, a convertible Mustang, and it’s going to be black and yellow!”
The decision is set to come into force next summer and, while there have been some critics of the ruling, it is set to change Saudi history forever.
Saudi Leaders have expressed their feelings that the move may also boost the economy, allowing women more independence and freedom of movement.
The New York Times reported that US leaders are hugely supportive of the measure. Donald Trump took to social media to express how he felt this was a ‘positive step’.
BBC Analyst Frank Gardner had this to say:
“This decree is huge for Saudi Arabia. For decades now, Saudi women, many of whom are extremely well-educated and ambitious, have been waiting for their chance to participate fully in their country’s economy.
For all this time families have had to stretch their budgets to the limit, as they have had to hire in imported chauffeurs from south and south-east Asia, house them, feed them and insure them.
An estimated 800,000 foreign chauffeurs currently ferry Saudi women around. The reason it has taken so long is the long-standing opposition from religious conservatives, who have expressed views varying from “they are too stupid to drive” to “it will lead to intolerable mingling of the sexes”.
Yet this decree is in line with a programme called Vision 2030, promoted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, to modernise Saudi society and bring it more into line with the rest of the world.”