Saudi king decrees women be allowed to drive

Saudi king decrees women be allowed to drive

Carmakers joined governments in welcoming the order by Saudi Arabia's King Salman that new rules allowing women to drive be drawn up within 30 days and implemented by June 2018, removing a stain on the country's global image.

Saudi Arabia has been widely criticized for being the only country in the world that bans women from driving, despite ambitious government targets to increase their public role, especially in the workforce.

Saudi Arabia will use the "preparatory period" until June to expand licensing facilities and develop the infrastructure to accommodate millions of new motorists, state media said.

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International said: "It is a testimony to the bravery of women activists who have been campaigning for years".

Saudi Arabia's royalty still have far to go to liberate women from the so-called guardian system, a tribal tradition in which male relatives control numerous activities of women. They forget that expat women, including domestic servants - unless they are able to afford to live in compounds - are subjected to the same form of sexist oppression at the hands of state and society, but have even fewer avenues of protest than Saudi women.

The announcement comes after a years-long resistance from women's rights activists, some of whom were jailed for defying the ban on female driving.

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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This decision was adopted due to Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is now attempting a profound transformation of the Saudi economy and society.

First, an unequivocal congratulations to the women of Saudi Arabia, who have achieved a historic victory.

"My auto is still there, the one I drove".

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.

Despite the breakthrough that won plaudits internationally and from inside Saudi Arabia, she refused to take any credit, saying: "No, no, it wasn't me, it was everyone doing everything".

The decree added that the majority of the Council of Senior Scholars - the kingdom's top clerical body, whose members are appointed by the king - had agreed that the government could allow women to drive if done in accordance with syariah law.

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