Women in Saudi Arabia granted the right to drive


Barely a week after a senior Saudi cleric said women in the country should not be allowed to drive because they have "a quarter the brainpower of men", Saudi Arabia's king issued a decree that women will now be able to obtain a driver's licence.

Sharif is not the only one woman from the Islamic kingdom to strain against the patriarchal rules. They refuse it and reject it.

Hundreds of female spectators were seated with their families, away from single men during the music event inside the King Fahd stadium which usually sees all-male crowds for football matches, in the country's capital Riyadh.

But Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Saudi ambassador to Washington, said this will no longer be the case. They later were arrested for driving and lost their passports and their jobs.

The royal decree, read by an announcer of state television and signed by King Salman, said traffic laws would be amended, including to allow the government to issue driver's licenses "to men and women alike".

The decision to lift the ban on women driving is viewed as part of Crown Prince Khaled bin Salman's efforts to reform the ultra-conservative Kingdom.

"This is the right time to do the right thing".

"I am really excited".

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U.S. President Donald Trump welcomed the decision as "a positive step toward promoting the rights and opportunities of women in Saudi Arabia", according to a White House statement.

The newspaper's editor-in-chief, Faisal J. Abbas, wrote in a front-page editorial that "much can be said in criticism of the illogical ban and the extremely long time it took to reverse it".

Following this, the news was celebrated widely on Twitter.

Many women in the kingdom have speculated that the arrival of tens of thousands of female drivers among the Kuwaiti refugees and in the US military could prompt a change in the Saudi laws.

For years, the kingdom has incrementally granted women more rights and visibility, including participation in the Olympic Games in London and Rio, positions on the country's top consultative council and the right to run and vote in local elections in 2015.

Women are also restricted in marriage.

Saudi's official press did not detail how granting women the right to drive will operate with respect to that system - for example, whether a man will need to sign off on a woman getting a license or even on taking individual auto trips. Some even went as far as to claim that women who drive would lead to promiscuity and the collapse of the Saudi family, as well as a baseless claim that driving would harm their ovaries.