Saudi Arabia is to issue a royal decree enabling women to finally be able to drive.
The royal decree, issued by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, is expected to be fully implemented by 2018. The kingdom is now creating a ministerial body to carry out the ruling and present its recommendations in the next 30 days.
The state-run Saudi Press Agency said, “The royal decree will implement the provisions of traffic regulations, including the issuance of driving licences for men and women alike.”
Saudi Arabia is currently the only country where women are banned from driving.
For many years, people have been opposing the ban on women driving. In 2013, Saudi comedian, Hisham Fageeh created a video poking fun at the ban on women driving. The video became a viral sensation and had been viewed over 14 million times on YouTube.
In June 2017, a Saudi prince and former minister called for women to be allowed to drive. Prince Faisal Bin Abdullah, former minister for education, said that women should be allowed to drive as they used to lead camels in the past.
Speaking in an interview with Rotana Khalijia TV, Prince Faisal said, “The ban on women driving has been imposed on us, and women in the past used to lead their own camels.”
“Women need to be empowered because they represent more than half of the society and they are highly dependable.”
The decision to overturn the ban has been welcomed around the world. The White House issued a statement saying, “President Donald J. Trump commends the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s decision today to affirm the right of women to drive in the kingdom.”
“This is a positive step toward promoting the rights and opportunities of women in Saudi Arabia.”
Prince Khaled bin Salman, the country’s ambassador to the US, also added, “This is a historic big day for our kingdom.”
Prime Minister, Theresa May has also commented on the lifting of the ban. In a statement, she said, “As a long standing friend of Saudi Arabia I welcome the Kingdom taking this important step towards gender equality.”
“The empowerment of women around the world is not only an issue I care deeply about, it is also key to nations’ economic development.”
“The UK will continue to work in close partnership with Saudi Arabia as it builds on this progress and delivers its ambitious programme of reform, Vision 2030.”