Saudi Arabia Allow Woman To Drive

Saudi Arabia’s historic decision to allow women to drive won plaudits internationally and inside the conservative kingdom.

King Salman’s decree, which takes effect next June, is part of an ambitious reform push that runs the risk of a backlash from religious hard-liners.

Saudi Arabia was the only country in the world to impose a ban on women driving and its maintenance was seen as a symbol of repression in the Gulf kingdom around the world.

U.S. President Donald Trump welcomed the decision to end the ban as “a positive step toward promoting the rights and opportunities of women in Saudi Arabia”.

Saudi Arabia will use the “preparatory period” until June to expand licensing facilities and develop the infrastructure to accommodate millions of new drivers.

Conservative clerics in Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy ruled according to Islamic sharia law, have long opposed lifting the ban, arguing that it would lead to promiscuity. One of them even claimed that driving harmed woman’s ovaries.

Saudi Arabia has some of the world’s tightest restrictions on women.

Under the country’s guardianship system, a male family member — normally the father, husband or brother — must grant permission for a woman’s study, travel and other activities.

It was unclear whether women would require their guardian’s permission to apply for a driving licence.

The policy could socially liberate women — heavily reliant on foreign drivers and ride-sharing apps — and also boost the economy at a time of low oil prices by increasing their participation in the workforce.