Saudi Arabia Announces It Will Lift Ban And Allow Women To Drive

Women to be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia

In the meantime president's daughter, Ivanka, has congratulated Saudi Arabian women after king Salman issued an order allowing them to get behind the wheel. "Men and women, my wife she drives, and my sister she drives". The experience of both not driving, and witnessing the carnage as I went about my work as a critical care physician in a trauma intensive care unit, was enough to change my feelings about driving life-long.

Some hit back at sexist jokes that flooded Saudi Twitter in the wake of the driving ban being lifted, reminding people that Saudi Arabia has one of the world's highest auto accidents rates, while only men are driving. "Now I'll finally dare to dream for more". The move may signal that the ultraconservative kingdom wants to improve its image. The male guardianship system requires women to have a male relative's approval for decisions on education, employment, marriage, travel plans and even medical treatment.

"The lifting of a ban. will likely serve as a litmus test for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's ability to introduce economic and social reforms despite conservative opposition", said James Dorsey, a fellow at Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. The crown prince sees the future of the economy as knowledge-based, one that relies far less on oil and more on the traits of its people.

Al-Sharif, 38, has long campaigned for women's rights in Saudi Arabia and this year published a memoir "Daring To Drive", which became a worldwide bestseller.

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Barely a week after a senior Saudi scholar said women in the country should not be allowed to drive because they have "a quarter the brainpower of men", Saudi Arabia's king issued a decree that women will now be able to obtain a driver's licence.

Men and women also danced in the streets to drums and thumping electronic music, in scenes that were a stunning anomaly in a country known for its tight gender segregation and austere vision of Islam. "Other proposals suggested that there would be a curfew for women drivers".

That risks inflaming tensions with influential Wahhabi clerics with whom the ruling Al Saud has enjoyed a close strategic alliance since the kingdom's founding.

Previously, women in the Gulf nation could be arrested for driving.

Saudi Arabia to lift ban on women drivers
Sharif was instrumental in organizing groups of women for collective protests to demand an end to the ban on female drivers. Many Saudi women rely on ride-sharing apps like Uber and Careem to take relish some freedom of movement.

The decision has sparked euphoria and disbelief among activists in the kingdom, which was the only country in the world to still ban women from driving.

"Whoever says this is permitted is a sinner".

Women make up only about 20 percent of Saudi workers, one of the lowest proportions in the world. "Evil has come to Arabs".

"Where is the (Grand) Mufti?" said another.

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