Women in Saudi Arabia granted right to drive

by Luis Castro September 28, 2017, 0:14
Women in Saudi Arabia granted right to drive

"Saudi Arabia allows women to drive", the Kingdom's Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Twitter, according to Arab News.

Saudi Arabia's surprise decision to grant women the right to drive in the conservative kingdom marks a significant expansion in women's rights, but activists said Wednesday it is also only the first step in a long list of demands for equality.

The decision highlights the damage that the no-driving policy has done to the kingdom's global reputation and its hopes for a public relations benefit from the reform. US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert called the move "a great step in the right direction".

Abbas added: "This is, however, certainly a case of 'better late than never;' and we should not for a single moment underestimate the significance of this bold move by Riyadh". Only two days ago, for the first time in history, Saudi Arabia allowed women to go to the stadium to participate in celebrations for the 87th anniversary of the kingdom's foundation.

"We will continue to support Saudi Arabia in its efforts to strengthen Saudi society and the economy through reforms like this", the White House said.

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"I am very optimistic about the future", she said. Her act was featured in the Frontline documentary "Saudi Arabia Uncovered", which showed footage captured secretly of alleged human rights violations inside the Kingdom.

But some working Saudi women say hiring private drivers to get them to and from work eats up much of their pay, diminishing the incentive to work.

The United States has welcomed Saudi Arabia's announcement that women will be allowed to drive for the first time.

The kingdom is the only country in the world that bars women from driving.

"Saudi Arabia has finally relented and made a decision to permit women to drive", rights watchdog Amnesty International said.

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In the past few 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.

Others have pointed out that women were allowed to lead camels in the era of Prophet Mohammed, the founder of the Islamic faith, so modern women should be able to drive cars. The ambassador says his government views women driving as a social issue, not a religious or cultural issue.

Women drivers have previously been arrested and cars have been confiscated, activists said.

NORTHAM: Getting a license doesn't mean equal rights for all.

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