Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women drivers

Roman Schwartz
June 24, 2018

It also represents the culmination of years of campaigning by activists who have sometimes been arrested and imprisoned for their efforts.

Saudi women can not still mix freely with members of the opposite sex apart from in places like hospitals, medical colleges and banks.

Aseel is responsible for creation of strategies to promote the education and training of women in motorsport in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi government, under Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, is phasing in an ongoing series of reforms to both diversify the Saudi economy and to liberalize its society.

Those with global driving licences would be able to drive in the Kingdom for up to a year, after which they would be required to apply for a Saudi licence, the department said.

The song was arranged by Palestinian cellist Naseem Alatrash, and features the vocals of Syrian singer, Nano Raies, while the group of musicians collectively involved was given the name Nano and the 6-2-4, in reference to the 24th day of the sixth month, in which the driving ban is set to be lifted.

Granting women the right to drive is part of a wider blueprint for the future drawn up by the crown prince.

Forty-seven-year-old Clinical Psychologist Samira al-Ghamdi is among those who have already received a driving licence.

Some went out at the stroke of midnight - when the law was officially overturned - and cruised along Jeddah's seaside road. Women who were new to driving could try out driving simulators and practice parking.

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30 November 2014: Activists Loujain al-Hathloul and Maysaa al-Amoudi are detained for 73 days an charged with terrorism-related crimes after attempting to drive into Saudi Arabia from the United Arab Emirates. A Saudi government statement released on Saturday said that the activists had been arrested on charges that included "suspicious contact with foreign parties", without naming them.

"This is one of the restrictions and this makes women not being able to access driving licenses in a fast way, in addition to the limited driving schools in Saudi Arabia", Al Jazeera quoted Suad Abu-Dayyeh, Middle East consultant for the Equality Now non-governmental organisation as saying.

And by the standards of the Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy guided by an ultraconservative religious creed, reforms that seemed like the barest of innovations - like the lifting of the driving ban or the opening of cinemas - are viewed by many here as revolutionary, if long overdue.

But she told CNN last month she had canceled the upcoming trip out of fear for her safety.

"I have never been (anything) but a good citizen who loves her country and wishes for it nothing but the best".

Television presenter Sabika al-Dosari said the end of the ban was "a historic moment for every Saudi woman" before driving a sedan across the border to the kingdom of Bahrain.

"If the authorities give credit to the women who championed lifting the driving ban, it means conceding that reforms can be won through activism, and then the Saudis may demand more", Human Rights Watch said this week.

Though women don't need a male relative's approval to get a driver's license or buy a vehicle, the moral and even financial support of a husband or father is key in this male-dominated society, where men have final say over a woman's ability to marry, travel overseas or obtain a passport. They included women who fought for years to be able to dThe government has been keen to promote the end of the ban as a sign that women's rights are advancing after decades of worldwide criticism. rive.

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