Saudi Arabia Agrees To Allow Women To Drive

King Salman has issued a royal order that will allow women to get behind the wheel following decades of protests.

The testimony of a woman is only worth half a man's in Saudi Arabia's legal system.

Rights group in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have protested the ban for years.

It says that men and women should be kept separate and what women should wear veils to cover themselves. This is often a relative or the woman's husband.

Two days later she was arrested and jailed for about a week.

An employee of a local Saudi Toyota dealership tells AMEinfo: "We do expect sales to increase in Riyadh, but only by approximately ten per cent in the first year [of the ban being lifted]".

Meanwhile, Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, called it a "new era" for her neighbors to the west.

If the right to drive for women extends beyond cars and into heavy vehicles, such as trucks and buses, companies may expand heavy vehicle fleets if there are opportunities to hire women as drivers.

The Saudi national spent several years working for the Saudi Ministry of Labour and the Saudi Ministry of Economy and Planning before returning to the USA in 2017, where she was a director at the Arabia Foundation, a Washington-based think tank.

She celebrated the change by posting a photo of herself behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Speaking to BBC news, campaigner Sahar Nassif said, "I couldn't believe it".

But not everyone is happy.


Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest sites, is an absolute monarchy ruled according to Shariah law.

What have reactions been around the world?

It was also welcomed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who saw it as a step on the right path.

Saudi Arabia has made incremental improvements to women's rights in recent years.

Others referred to the Saudi King's decree as "sensational" and "historic".

Women can not wear clothes or cosmetics that reveal or enhance their facial features or other parts of the body. Women were permitted access into a sports stadium for the first time to watch a concert.

Saudi Arabia has announced that it will allow women to drive from June 2018.

And before the news King Salman was scrapping the ban on driving, he ordered workplaces to provide transport for female workers. Saudi Arabian women on Twitter have mixed emotions of excitement and hesitation for when and if this law is officially implemented.

Although there have been changes, life is still very different for women in Saudi Arabia compared to other parts of the world.

Now women are legally subject to a male guardian, who must give approval to basic decisions they make in fields including education, employment, marriage, travel plans and even medical treatment. They are also required to go out in public wearing an abaya and black, the traditional dress which covers them from head to toe.

"We pay respect to the women and men who have fought in this struggle".

Both companies had seen the Saudi market as one of the most lucrative, especially with government plans to bring a further 1.3 million women into the workforce by 2030.


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