Saudi women will be allowed to drive in the kingdom in 2018

September 27, 2017 | By | Reply More

Saudi Arabia’s surprise decision to grant women the right to drive in the conservative kingdom marks a significant expansion in women’s rights, but activists said Wednesday it is also only the first step in a long list of demands for equality.

saudi womenSaudi Arabia was the only country in the world to ban women from driving. The royal decree late Tuesday comes into effect next summer, but it comes nearly three decades after women began agitating for the right to drive.

As recently as 2013, dozens of women uploaded videos online of themselves behind the wheel of a car during a campaign launched by Saudi rights activists. Some videos showed families and male drivers giving women a “thumbs-ups,” suggesting many were ready for the change.

While women in other Muslim countries drove freely, the kingdom’s blanket ban attracted negative publicity.

The secretary-general of the United Nations Antonio Guterres described it as “an important step in the right direction.” British Prime Minister Theresa also hailed the decision, saying the empowerment of women around the world “is key to nations’ economic development.”

Prince Khaled bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Washington and the king’s son, said that letting women drive is a “huge step forward” and that “society is ready.”

“This is the right time to do the right thing,” he told reporters in the U.S. Women will be allowed to obtain licenses without the permission of a male relative.

Aziza Youssef, a professor at King Saud University and one of Saudi Arabia’s most vocal women’s rights activists, said women were “happy” but also that the change was “the first step in a lot of rights we are waiting for.”

Press journalist for HRO media – Khizer Hayat reports.

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