wnol.info October 18 2017


Saudi Arabia To Finally Lift Ban On Women Driving

October 18 2017, 11:03 | Perry Erickson

Women to be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia

Traffic passes the Kingdom Tower on King Fahad Road in Riyadh. Around 9,000 lives are lost in an average year due to road accidents in the Kingdom. Waseem Obaidi  Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia announced Tuesday through a royal decree that it would finally allow women to drive, eventually ending a ban that has always been considered an abuse of human rights and inspired protests in the country for decades. It was only a year ago that one of Saudi Arabia's wealthiest and most influential Princes (Prince Alwaleed bin Talal) called the driving ban "an unjust act by a traditional society", and it seems that things are slowly but surely changing for the better.

Home to the birthplace of Islam and two of the religion's holiest sites-Mecca and Medina-Saudi Arabia operates as an ultraconservative, Sharia Law-based monarchy.

Finally, after years of campaigning and protesting, women in Saudi Arabia have been granted permission to drive.

Saudi women have been campaigning for the right to drive since the 1990s, with many women ending up in prison.

The United States has welcomed Saudi Arabia's announcement that women will be allowed to drive for the first time.

Speaking during the media conference in Washington, Prince Khalid bin Salman said women would be able to acquire a license without seeking the permission of a male guardian.

The Saudi government has formed a committee study issues that may arise from the change and decide how to best address them, according to The New York Times.

Detailed recommendations will follow within 30 days, and the government has until June 24, 2018, to lift the ban.

For the first time in Saudi Arabia's history, the country's women will be allowed to drive "in accordance with the Islamic laws".

Female activists organised collective protests in 1990, 2011 and 2013, and posted online videos of themselves driving. It's a great victory, campaigner Sahar Nassif was quoted to have said by BBC. I started laughing and jumping and screaming. "I'm going to buy my dream vehicle, a convertible Mustang, and it's going to be black and yellow".

"A glorious day. Can't hold back my tears", tweeted Saudi shura council member Latifah Alshaalan. In recent decades, some Saudi Arabian women have challenged the ban and were issued traffic tickets or even jailed as a result.

NORTHAM: Getting a license doesn't mean equal rights for all.

Women need permission from a male family member - her father or husband or someone else - to do things like apply for a passport, travel overseas, and marry, get divorced, open a bank account, get a job or have some types of medical surgery.



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