Saudi women finally free to get behind the wheel

29 September, 2017, 00:13 | Author: Joy Garcia
  • Women Can Finally Drive in Saudi Arabia

Ghunaim said Tuesday's royal decree would ultimately help low-income families who now struggle to meet the financial burden of hiring drivers.

Saudi Arabia was the only country in the world to restrict women from driving.

British Prime Minister Theresa May hailed it as an "important step towards gender equality".

Saudi Arabia's latest move comes as the ultra-conservative kingdom works to improve its image and the perception of its human rights record in the United States and the West.

The decision, which was signed by King Salman, said that women would be permitted to drive "in accordance with Islamic law". Youssef, who is a professor at King Saud University, further told the news agency that women will continue to push for an end to male guardianship laws that still remain in place, which give male relatives the final say on issues like the right of women to travel overseas, obtain a passport and marry. Sharif, who now lives in Australia, was imprisoned in Saudi Arabia in 2011 after sharing a video on YouTube featuring her driving.

The decision has overturned a longstanding policy that has become a global symbol of the repression of women in the ultraconservative kingdom, the New York Times reported.

To leave their house and travel in public, women must also obtain the permission of a male guardian. Many working Saudi women spend much of their salaries on drivers or must be driven to work by male relatives.

Unlike previous rulers, he has shown a willingness to tackle entrenched Saudi taboos, and is seen as catering to the aspirations of youth with an array of entertainment options and promoting more women in the workforce.

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The Islamic clerics said that King Salman bin Abdulaziz made the right and proper decisions based on the interest of the citizens.

"The reign of puritanical Islam is over". Women often are asked to have the written permission of man to rent an apartment, buy a auto or open a bank account.

"The police will need to be trained to interact with women in a way they rarely do in a society where men and women who are not related rarely interact", the report noted.

He also said that the country's security forces were "ready to apply" traffic laws to men and women.

On Saturday, women were welcomed into a sports stadium for the first time to celebrate the countrys national day and in June, the Ministry of Education declared female students would have access to physical education in the coming school year.

"In this big occasion, we feel that the kingdom became a State mattering with pioneer's role both for the level regional and worldwide", said the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a speech. After driving around the Saudi capital, Riyadh, the women were arrested, and some lost their jobs.

Already viewed as the de facto ruler controlling all the major levers of government, Prince Mohammed, 32, is seen as stamping out internal dissent before any formal transfer of power from his 81-year-old father.


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