The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has issued a historic royal decree that will allow women to drive, ending the country’s decades-long policy of prohibiting women behind the wheel. The change is set to take effect in June 2018. The Saudi Foreign Ministry announced the news live on state television on Tuesday. Vogue.me lists the vital details in digest.
The Man Behind the Policy Change
The new policy is just one of many changes rippling through the Kingdom, since 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the youngest minister of defense in the world, was appointed Crown Prince in June 2017. His Highness has ambitious plans to reform the Saudi economy.
Women In the Saudi Workplace
The policy change aims to increase women’s participation in the workplace as many rely on drivers and male family members to get to work. “We refer to the negative consequences of not allowing women to drive vehicles and the positive aspects of allowing it to do so,” the royal decree read.
The No Permission-Required Policy
Additionally, women would not need to get permission from a legal guardian to get a license and would not need a male guardian in the car when they drive. This is being regarded as a step in the right direction for women’s rights and a victory for Saudi women, especially the activists who have been campaigning since the 1990s to overturn the ban – often getting arrested in the process.
What the World Thinks
While some conservatives opposed women’s right to drive in the Kingdom, the groundbreaking decision has been praised by women and men across the globe on Twitter and Instagram, with hashtag #SaudiWomenCanDrive being used in a flood of tweets. Here are some of the reactions on Twitter:
You want a statement here is one: "Saudi Arabia will never be the same again. The rain begins with a single drop" #Women2Drive ❤️
— منال مسعود الشريف (@manal_alsharif) September 26, 2017
I could hear my phone ringing while in the shower, it rang nonstop till I ran out thinking it must be an emergency! WE DID IT 😭😍💪🏻
— تماضر اليامي Tamador (@TamadorAlyami) September 26, 2017
Great news for all the women in Saudi Arabia. An achievement that will help their society. Drive to happiness ladies #MakeAChange
— Elissa (@elissakh) September 26, 2017
— العنود (@aa_j81) September 26, 2017
— Mohammad Almutawa (@mfmutawa) September 26, 2017
Lets all try to block out the pessimists & antagonists tonight and celebrate, there is much to come tomorrow.#SaudiWomenCanDrive
— جهينه آل علي (@Juhaina_AlAli) September 26, 2017
— Dr. Eman Saad (@AlSaad_1) September 26, 2017
— Kris Jenner (@KrisJenner) September 27, 2017