Saudi Arabia |Emerging

Saudi Arabia to allow women to drive

Talk (4)

Linh Nguyen

Linh Nguyen

"Many thanks!"
Linh Nguyen

Linh Nguyen

"Hi Rob, I'm doing a follow-up analysi..."
Rob Noble

Rob Noble

"This is a good story and definitely n..."
Pete Young

Pete Young

"Hi, the second paragraph of this stor..."

Saudi Arabia has reversed a longstanding policy banning women from driving on 26 September.

The decision came by decree from King Salman in a broader effort to modernize Saudi Arabian society.

While there was never any formal law preventing women from driving, it was accepted that the practice was forbidden by religious edict. The kingdom was the only country in the world to forbid women drivers.

The Council of Senior Religious Scholars, an influential group of Islamic clerics, announced its support for the reform, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency. However, King Salman has publicly threatened punitive measures for anyone who tries to undermine his reform agenda.

This decree shows King Salman’s commitment to the goals outlined in Vision 2030, a roadmap at modernizing Saudi Arabia. Allowing women to drive was never listed on the agenda, though it was an anticipated step as the kingdom aims to raise the female workforce to 30 percent by 2030.

The new law allows women to travel freely and obtain driver’s licenses without the permission of male guardians.

Saudi woman Manal al-Sharif, who became the public face of the campaign after she was imprisoned for driving, tweeted:

The move is the latest of a series of changes aimed at diversifying the kingdom’s economy away from the oil and gas sector, which currently generates 50 percent of the nation’s GDP and 85 percent of its export earnings according to OPEC.

Though the order was issued by King Salman, it is his son, 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who’s leading the reform.

At a stroke, lifting the ban opens a radical shift in the role of women and their contribution to Saudi Arabian society.


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United Kingdom
Linh is a staff journalist at WikiTribune with a background in the humanities. She covers the Middle East, Asia, conflict and technology. Though based in London, she has freelanced across Asia, the UK and U.S.

History for stories "Saudi Arabia to allow women to drive"

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12 January 2018

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05 January 2018

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  1. Rewrite

    This is a good story and definitely news-worthy, however I do feel the assertion it is to do with the diversification of Saudi Arabia’s economy from Oil and Gas isn’t valid. It is very welcome and overdue but a cynic might say this was a deflection from other much needed challenges that the country faces.

    1. Rewrite

      Hi Rob, I’m doing a follow-up analysis piece on why lifting the ban is more to do with diversifying the economy, than it is about women’s rights. It should be up tomorrow, but happy to discuss further.

      Thanks!

  2. Rewrite

    Hi, the second paragraph of this story is excellent: “While there was never any formal law preventing women from driving, it was accepted that the practice was forbidden by religious edict. The kingdom was the only country in the world to forbid women drivers.” That explanation, so high in the story, is better than most of your competitors today.

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