Saudi ladies celebrate right to drive

Posted September 29, 2017

"The fact that women are now getting the opportunity to drive legally, something we take for granted in the USA and really in any modern country, is a major step towards allowing for more rights for women, civil rights for women", Stur said. She believes this new law, that will take effect June 2018, is empowering for all women, including in our state.

"The royal decree will implement the provisions of traffic regulations, including the issuance of driving licenses for men and women alike", the Saudi Press Agency said.

On Sept. 27, his government announced that the ban on female driving would be lifted, starting next year.

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has met with Saudi King Salman Abdulaziz on Wednesday during his two-day official visit to the Kingdom amid tensions over Somalia's neutral position in the Gulf crisis.

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But most who used the negative hashtag were women mocking men opposed to them driving. The granting to women of the long-deserved right to drive must not be used to gain unearned goodwill, especially by Canada, which is already on the hook for selling the regime armoured vehicles that seem to have been used against its own citizens.

To all the men making jokes about women driving, I remind you: Saudi has one of the highest vehicle accident rates, and only men drive.

Guardianship is just one of the many human-rights abuses, of women and men, domestic and foreign, that are rampant in Saudi Arabia.

"It is awesome", said Fawziah al-Bakr, a Saudi university professor who was among 47 women who participated in the kingdom's first protest against the ban - in 1990.

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The momentum to change the policy picked up in recent years with the rise of Crown Prince Mohammed Salman, the king's 32-year-old son, who has laid out a far-reaching plan to overhaul the kingdom's economy and society.

Women in Saudi Arabia are still legally required to have a male guardian inform their decisions on marriage, travel and divorce, among other personal issues. The scholars see no reason not to allow women to drive as long as there are legal and regulatory guarantees to avoid the pretexts (that those against women driving had in mind), even if they are unlikely to happen.

The decree also said a high-level ministerial committee was being formed to study other issues that needed to be addressed for the change to take place.

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