Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving


Following a royal decree, women will soon be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia.

Up until now, only men were allowed licences and women who drove in public ran the risk of being arrested and fined.

It was announced on Tuesday from the official Twitter account of the Saudi Foreign Ministry. A committee has been formed to implement the ruling and it will present recommendations in 30 days.

The government will have until June 24, 2018, to implement the new decree.

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This is just the latest in a series of changes that have been rippling through Saudi Arabia. King Salman is spearheading an ambitious plan to reform and transform the Saudi economy by 2030, and part of that reform is to increase the number of women in the workforce.

Saudi Ambassador to Washington Prince Khaled bin Salman said, “I think it’s the right decision at the right time.”

Women will no longer need permission from a legal guardian to get a licence and will not need a guardian in the car when they drive. Women will also be allowed to drive anywhere in the Kingdom, including the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Any woman who wants to apply for a licence can do so under the new rules.

Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has viewed allowing women to drive as a key plank of reforms, insisting that the move would lead to a higher female participation in the workforce and a breakdown of gender roles.

The reform has been welcomed by women across the region.

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