How should we cover women driving in Saudi Arabia for first time?


Women in Saudi Arabia are legally able to drive from June 24, when a ban on female drivers was lifted.

On September 26, 2017, King Salman issued a decree ending the ban, which was implemented as early as 1957.

The historic moment has been celebrated as a milestone for women’s rights in the kingdom, giving women greater freedom and independence (CNBC).

Saudi Arabian women have for decades relied on about 800,000 foreign chauffeurs to get around.

About 2,000 licenses have already been issued to women who can drive in the kingdom. But there are concerns that women in the driver’s seat will face harassment from conservative men in the kingdom. “Some men have already vowed to menace women drivers” on Saudi roads, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Others have pointed out that women’s rights activists, including champions of women driving, have been arrested and detained (Al Jazeera) in the lead-up to the lifting of the ban.

How should we cover Saudi Arabia lifting its ban on women drivers?

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  • Review reactions to lifting of the ban, including social media posts from prominent women’s rights activists, politicians, and Saudi Arabian media.
  • Examine the contrast between reports of women being detained for protesting the ban, and greater personal rights and freedoms that lifting of the ban will grant women in Saudi Arabia.
  • Events across Saudi Arabia as women take the wheel.

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