Saudi Arabia agrees to allow women to drive at last


In Saudi Arabia, a royal decree was issued on Tuesday, September 26, that will allow women in the country to drive. It was only past year that one of Saudi Arabia's wealthiest and most influential Princes (Prince Alwaleed bin Talal) called the driving ban "an unjust act by a traditional society", and it seems that things are slowly but surely changing for the better.

It added that the decree would be implemented from June 2018. Women are usually also not allowed to leave the home alone.

Saudi Arabia has lifted a ban on women driving, and the move could give a boost to an auto market in the country that's been declining.

Backwards Saudi Arabia, which treats women as little more than slaves or men's chattels, is reportedly the only country on the planet that forbids females from getting behind the wheel. The justifications for upholding the ban were numerous and not always logical.

Others argued that allowing women to drive would lead to promiscuity and the collapse of the Saudi family. But female candidates weren't allowed to speak to male voters and couldn't have men and women mixing in their campaign offices.

"As far as I remember, Sharia scholars have said it was haram (forbidden) for women to drive".

Social media users reacted to the news, pointing out the kingdom's "regressive" guardianship rules, which women in Saudi are still battling.

The agenda reads more "national pride and harmony" rather than "women equality" for the conservative Islamic nation. At this point, the government will begin issuing women driver's licenses, which were never officially banned by law, but were unobtainable at any cost to women.

Saudi history is a unique one and in many instances women have been punished simply for operating a vehicle.

Even United States President Donald Trump said that it was a "positive step towards promoting women's rights".

The number of cars in Saudi Arabia is likely to increase at least 20 percent in the next ten years as a result of the decision, said Jaap Meijer, the head of research at Dubai-based investment bank Arqaam Capital Ltd.

The country's sovereign wealth fund put $3.5 billion into Uber in June 2016 while state-controlled Saudi Telecom Co announced on December 2016 that it had bought 10 percent of Careem for $100 million.

Saudi Arabia remains a male-dominated society.

Lastly, it's unclear whether women will need to get permission from their male guardians to drive.