Saudi Arabia to allow women to drive for 1st time next year

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Ladies might be allowed to drive for the primary time subsequent summer time in Saudi Arabia, the extremely-conservative kingdom introduced Tuesday, marking a big enlargement of girls’s rights in the one the nation that barred them from getting behind the wheel.

Whereas ladies in different Muslim nations drove freely, the dominion’s blanket ban attracted destructive publicity for years. Neither Islamic regulation nor Saudi visitors regulation explicitly prohibited ladies from driving, however they weren’t issued licenses and have been detained in the event that they tried to drive.

Prince Khaled bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Washington and the king’s son, stated letting ladies drive is a “large step ahead” and that “society is prepared.”

“That is the suitable time to do the proper factor,” he advised reporters within the U.S. Ladies can be allowed to acquire licenses with out the permission of a male family member.

The announcement got here within the type of a royal decree that was reported late Tuesday by the state-run Saudi Press Company and state TV.

“I’m actually excited. This can be a good step ahead for ladies’s rights,” stated Aziza Youssef, a professor at King Saud College and one in every of Saudi Arabia’s most vocal ladies’s rights activists. Chatting with The Related Press from Riyadh, she stated ladies have been “glad” but in addition that the change was “step one in a number of rights we’re ready for.”

Saudi historical past gives many examples of girls being punished merely for working a car.

In 1990, 50 ladies have been arrested for driving and misplaced their passports and their jobs. Greater than 20 years later, a lady was sentenced in 2011 to 10 lashes for driving, although the late King Abdullah overturned the sentence.

As lately as late 2014, two Saudi ladies have been detained for greater than two months for defying the ban on driving when considered one of them tried to cross the Saudi border with a license from neighboring United Arab Emirates in an act of defiance.

Youssef took half in quite a few driving campaigns, together with a extensively publicized effort in 2013 when dozens of girls throughout the dominion uploaded movies to YouTube of themselves driving in Saudi Arabia. Some movies confirmed households and male drivers giving ladies a “thumbs-ups,” suggesting many have been prepared for the change.

The decree indicated that ladies won’t be allowed to drive instantly. A committee can be shaped to look into the best way to implement the brand new order, which is slated to…

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