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The World’s only ban on women drivers to end in Saudi Arabia

Women in Saudi Arabia will be able to get behind the wheel and drive legally as Saudi Arabia ends the ban on Sunday. This has been made possible by years of appeals and activism both from outside and inside of the Saudi Arabia. 

This the decision to lift this ban has been made under the Vision 2030 economic and social reforms. These reforms have been spearheaded by Mohammed bin Salam, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. As a result of lifting the ban on driving for women, a plethora of women are expected to join the workforce which is one of the key goals for the young Crown Prince.

Previously, women in Saudi Arabia had to keep male drivers to drive around for their jobs and this ate into their salaries and prohibited their mobility. The decision to lift the ban was made in September last year; however, its implementation was decided to take place in June 2018. During the first two weeks of June, Saudi government granted driving licenses to 10 Saudi women. Both Uber and Careem, which are ride-hailing services, have announced to hire women drivers after the end of the ban.

The ban has been lifted 28 years after Saudi women protests on the streets of Riyadh against it and wanted the right to driver to be granted to them. After the protest, the highest religious body issued an edict in which the ban on female driving was added to the legal code and all of the 47 Saudi women who drove in the protests were arrested.

However the campaign to lift the ban started to have a significant impact at the time of Arab Spring in 2011. Women2Drive was the campaign under which a woman, Manal al-Sharif, posted herself driving around on YouTube after which she was arrested. Several other prominent women were also arrested in protest; however, their endeavors for change resulted in the decision to lift the ban.

  • Saudi Arabia
  • Crown Prince
  • Ban On Driving
  • Women