King Salman Issues Decree Allowing Women In Saudi Arabia To Drive

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King Salman Issues A Decree Allowing Women In Saudi Arabia To Drive Cars

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday announced that it would henceforth allow women to drive cars, a decree that ends a longstanding policy that has become a global symbol of the repression of women in the ultraconservative kingdom.

King Salman issued the decree, according to a royal court statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).


King Salman issues a decree allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia
King Salman issues a decree allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia: (SPA)

Arab News quoted the state-run SPA as saying specifically that a royal order was issued for both men and women to be issued drivers’ licenses.

“The royal decree will implement the provisions of traffic regulations, including the issuance of driving licenses for men and women alike,” the SPA said.

Government ministries are also told to prepare reports within 30 days, with the decree expected to take effect by June 2018.

The move was announced on television and also by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Saudi Arabia allows women to drive,” the ministry confirmed on Twitter.

The decree referred to the “negative effects of not allowing women to drive vehicles, and the positive effects envisaged from allowing them to do so” within the context of Islamic laws.

The ban is considered a social issue in the Kingdom, as there is no actual law or religious edict that prohibits it.

Saudi leaders also hope the new policy will help the economy by increasing women’s participation in the workplace.

It is understood many working Saudi women spend much of their salaries on drivers or must be driven to work by male relatives.

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, Prince Khaled bin Salman, described the decision of allowing women to drive as a “huge step.”

“It’s not just a social change, it’s part of economic reform,” he said. “Our leadership believes this is the right time to do this change because in Saudi Arabia, we have a young, dynamic open society.”

The ambassador said women will not need to get permission from legal guardians to get a license.

Furthermore, if a woman has a driver’s license in another Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country, she’s allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, he said.



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