Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving as part of PR move

  • Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving as part of PR move

Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving as part of PR move

Manal Al Sharif was arrested and spent nine days in prison for driving in Saudi Arabia in 2011. However, it dwelt on ensuring that the women weren't served with licenses and any effort to drive was punitive.

They can vote in local elections - Women first cast ballots during municipal election in 2015 and were also allowed to campaign for public office.

The shift comes several months after the Saudi king named a new crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

There is no law in the kingdom that bans women to sit behind the wheel but society and conservative clerics have long opposed the move.

Saudi Arabia has reversed its long-standing and widely criticized ban against women driving. "Now revoke guardianship laws and stop treating women like children", HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth said on Twitter.

Aziza Youssef, a professor at King Saud University and one of Saudi Arabia's most vocal women's rights activists said that she is excited and that the move is a good step forward for women's rights.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

"We believe women have rights in Islam that they've yet to obtain", he said in an interview, according to Bloomberg.

The ban - to be lifted June 2018 - has been in effect for more than 25 years, and was first protested in 1990. Here's take a look at what others think of Saudi women allowed to drive in the kingdom. Estimates suggest at least 8 lakh chauffeurs from South and South-east Asia work in Saudi Arabia due to the ban.

King Salman ordered the reform in a royal decree delivered on Tuesday night, requesting that drivers' licences be issued to women who wanted them.

"After decades in which women's faces were blurred and erased, they celebrate it now as it is full of pride".

Social media campaigns such as "I am my own guardian" and "Saudi Women Can Drive" swiftly gained traction online. Many working Saudi women spend much of their salaries on drivers or must be driven to work by male relatives. Still, lifting the driving ban on women could help the country's worldwide reputation.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert called the change "a great step in the right direction for that country".

He tells reporters in Washington that it was the right time for Saudi Arabia to do the right thing.