Saudi joins 21st century allows women to drive


(Arab News) RIYADH: Saudi women have spoken of their excitement over the historic lifting of the ban on women driving in the week that the first 10 women in the Kingdom were issued with their driving licenses.

Commending the General Directorate of Traffic’s issuing of the first driving licenses, Hind Khalid Al-Zahid, who heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Arab News: “This is a very positive step toward promoting the rights and opportunities for women in the Kingdom in line with Vision 2030.”

Al-Zahid said: ”This is not just the right thing to do for female emancipation, but also an essential step in the economic and social development under the Vision 2030 reforms.

“This historic move also sends a clear message to the world that the changes in Saudi Arabia under Vision 2030 are real and significant. For Saudi women, it is another very important milestone on the road to empowerment,” she added.

Mona Salahuddin Al-Munajjed, a sociologist and the author of the book “Saudi Women: A Celebration of Success,” told Arab News that the move was a very positive step toward female emancipation. She added that it would usher in big changes in the Kingdom on both social and economic levels.

“This is wonderful news as this is a lawful right of every woman and today we are really joining 21st-century developments, it gives Saudi women more autonomy, independence, and personal freedom.

“Saudi women can now share effectively the family responsibilities. They do not have to rely anymore on a male driver to take them shopping to the supermarket. Women can take their children to school and, of course, economically, it will reduce the cost of a driver at home, the money which can be saved for other house expenses.”

In September 2017, a royal decree issued by King Salman announced the end of the decades-long ban on women driving. At the time it was announced that a ministerial body would facilitate implementation of the order.

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