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Media captionSaudi women's driving activist Manal al-Sharif: 'I cried' Saudi Arabia's King Salman has issued a decree allowing women to drive for the first time, to the joy of activists. The Gulf kingdom is the only country in the world that bans women from driving. Until now, only men were allowed licences and women who drove in public risked being arrested and fined. Praise for the move has been pouring in from inside Saudi Arabia, as well as around the world.
US President Donald Trump said it was a "positive step" towards promoting women's rights. Campaigner Sahar Nassif told the BBC from Jeddah that she was "very, very excited - jumping up and down and laughing". "I'm going to buy my dream car, a convertible Mustang, and it's going to be black and yellow!" What happens now? • A ministerial body will be set up to give advice within 30 days • The royal order will be implemented by 24 June 2018 The country's US ambassador, Prince Khaled bin Salman, confirmed that women would not have to get male permission to take driving lessons, and would be able to drive anywhere they liked.
He said it was "an historic and big day" and "the right decision at the right time". What has the road to reform been like? Rights groups in the kingdom have campaigned for years to allow women to drive, and some women have been imprisoned for defying the rule. • • Because of the law, many families have had to employ private drivers to help transport female relatives.
Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul, who was for flouting the ban, tweeted "thank God" following the announcement. Media captionSaudi Arabia's permanent representative to the UN confirmed the change in policy What was the reaction? The move was welcomed by the US state department, which called it "a great step in the right direction". UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres . Manal al-Sharif, an organiser of the Women2Drive campaign who has also been imprisoned for driving, said on Twitter that Saudi Arabia would "never be the same again".
The hashtags "I am my own guardian" and "Saudi Women Can Drive" quickly gained traction on social media. Not everyone reacted positively, however, with conservative voices accusing the government of "bending the verses of Sharia". "As far as I remember, Sharia scholars have said it was haram (forbidden) for women to drive. How come it has suddenly become halal (permissible)?" one critic tweeted. Others emphasised that despite the latest development, Saudi Arabia remains a long way off gender equality.
Amnesty International's Philip Luther said it was "just one step", adding: "We also need to see a whole range of discriminatory laws and practices swept away in Saudi Arabia." Analysis: A massive change for Saudi society By Frank Gardner, BBC News This decree is huge for Saudi Arabia. For decades now, Saudi women, many of whom are extremely well-educated and ambitious, have been waiting for their chance to participate fully in their country's economy.
For all this time families have had to stretch their budgets to the limit, as they have had to hire in imported chauffeurs from south and south-east Asia, house them, feed them and insure them.
An estimated 800,000 foreign chauffeurs currently ferry Saudi women around. The reason it has taken so long is the long-standing opposition from religious conservatives, who have expressed views varying from "they are too stupid to drive" to "it will lead to intolerable mingling of the sexes".
Yet this decree is in line with a programme called Vision 2030, promoted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, to modernise Saudi society and bring it more into line with the rest of the world. Lifestyle limits remain for Saudi women Saudi law enforces a strict form of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism and is known for its gender segregation rules. • • Women have to adhere to strict dress codes, must not associate with unrelated men, and if they want to travel, work or access healthcare they must be accompanied by - or receive written permission from - a male guardian.
Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption Saudi women were recently allowed inside King Fahd Stadium to celebrate for the first time The kingdom recently faced a backlash from conservatives on social media after allowing women to participate in for the first time.
The festivities included fireworks, light shows and a concert in King Fahd International Stadium in the capital, Riyadh.
best date saudi woman driving - Saudi women get first driving licences
Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday that it would allow women to drive, ending a longstanding policy that has become a global symbol of the oppression of women in the ultraconservative kingdom. The change, which will take effect in June 2018, was announced in a royal decree read live on state television and in a simultaneous media event in Washington. The decision highlights the damage that the ban on women driving has done to the kingdom’s international reputation and its hopes for a public relations benefit from the reform.
Saudi leaders also hope the new policy will help the economy by increasing women’s participation in the workplace. Many working Saudi women spend much of their salaries on drivers or must be driven to work by male relatives. “It is amazing,” said Fawziah al-Bakr, a Saudi university professor who was among 47 women who participated in the kingdom’s first protest against the ban — in 1990. After driving around the Saudi capital, Riyadh, the women were arrested and some lost their jobs.
“Since that day, Saudi women have been asking for the right to drive, and finally it arrived,” she said by phone. “We have been waiting for a very long time.” Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites, is an absolute monarchy ruled according to Shariah law. Saudi officials and clerics have provided numerous explanations for the ban over the years. Some said that it was inappropriate in Saudi culture for women to drive, or that male drivers would not know how to handle having women in cars next to them.
Others argued that allowing women to drive would lead to promiscuity and the collapse of the Saudi family. One cleric claimed — with no evidence — that driving harmed women’s ovaries.
Rights groups and Saudi activists have long for the ban to be overturned, and some women have been arrested and jailed for defying the prohibition and taking the wheel. In 2014, Loujain Hathloul was arrested after trying to cross the border from the United Arab Emirates into Saudi Arabia and detained for 73 days.
The ban has long marred the image of Saudi Arabia, even among its closest allies, like the United States, whose officials sometimes chafed at a policy shared only by the jihadists of the Islamic State and the Taliban. The decision won near universal praise in Washington. Heather Nauert, the State Department’s spokeswoman, called it “a great step in the right direction for that country.” The momentum to change the policy picked up in recent years with the rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the king’s 32-year-old son, who has laid out a far-reaching plan to overhaul the kingdom’s economy and society.
Increasing numbers of women are working in a growing number of professions, and in 2015, women were allowed to vote and to run for seats on the kingdom’s local councils.
Ending the ban on women driving is expected to face some resistance inside the kingdom, where families are highly patriarchal and some men say they worry about their female relatives getting stranded should their cars break down. But in a small news conference at the Saudi embassy in Washington, an exuberant Prince Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador, said women would be able to obtain driver’s licenses without having to ask permission of their husbands, fathers or any male guardian — despite so-called “guardianship” laws that give men power over their female relatives.
Under these laws, women cannot travel abroad, work or undergo some medical procedures without the consent of their male “guardian,” often a father, a husband or even a son. While the enforcement of guardianship laws has loosened in recent years, there is little to stop Saudi men from greatly limiting the movements of their wives or daughters.
The ambassador, who is a son of the king, said that women would be able to drive alone but that the Interior Ministry would decide whether they could work as professional drivers.
He said he did not expect the change in policy to face significant resistance. “I think our society is ready,” he said. That remains an open question. Many Saudis remain deeply conservative, and social strictures like the driving ban have been reinforced over the years by the kingdom’s top clerics, many of them on the government payroll.
But there was little public dissent on Tuesday, likely because the Saudi government often exerts pressure on prominent voices to make sure they either back the government line or keep quiet. In recent weeks it has , accusing them of being . After the change on the driving ban was announced, an anonymous text circulated through What’s App in the kingdom calling on the “virtuous ones” to work against its implementation, to protect against epidemics, adultery and other disasters.
At the news conference, the ambassador insisted that the decision would not be reversed or seriously opposed. Beyond the effects it could have on Saudi Arabia’s image abroad, letting women drive could help the Saudi economy.
Low oil prices have limited the government jobs that many Saudis have long relied on, and the kingdom is trying to push more citizens, including women, . 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. In recent years, many women have come to rely on ride-sharing apps like Uber and Careem to gain some freedom of movement.
Many of the kingdom’s professionals and young people will welcome the change, viewing it as a step to making life in the country a bit more like life elsewhere. , a Saudi women’s rights advocate who filmed herself driving in 2011 and posted the footage to YouTube to protest the law, celebrated the announcement on Tuesday.
Ms. Sharif was instrumental in organizing groups of women for collective protests to demand an end to the ban on female drivers. She was arrested at the time for taking part in the actions, and later wrote a book about her experience. She now lives in Australia. But despite celebrating the success for female drivers, she said the next campaign would be to end guardianship laws.
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 decree said a high-level ministerial committee was being formed to study other issues that needed to be addressed for the change to take place. For example, the police will have to be trained to interact with women in a way that they rarely do in Saudi Arabia, a society where men and women who are not related have little contact.
The committee has 30 days to provide its recommendations, the decree said, so that the new policy can be carried out starting on June 24, 2018. The decree said that the majority of the Council of Senior Scholars — the kingdom’s top clerical body, whose members are appointed by the king — had agreed that the government could allow women to drive if done in accordance with Shariah law.
Saudi Arabia has officially announced lifting the ban on women to drive cars, which will be effective in June, following a landmark decision by King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz. The Royal Decree issued on Tuesday on Saudi women right’s to drive confirmed that the majority of the members of the senior scholars’ council agree that the ruling in this regard clearly demonstrate permissibility, pointing out that the past reservations were based on considerations related to some issues that can neither be confirmed nor denied.
The members of the senior scholars see no impediment for the issue of women driving as long as there are enough legitimate and orderly guarantees to avoid those considerations, even if within the scope of doubtful possibility.
The royal decree said: “Since the state is the custodian of the values of legitimacy, thus it considers maintaining and caring for it in the list of its priorities, whether in this matter or other, and will not hesitate to take every decision necessary to maintain the security and safety of society, so adopt the application of the provisions of the Traffic Regulations and its Executive Regulations - Including the issuance of driver’s licenses - to both males and females, and to form a high-level committee of ministries (internal affairs, finance, labor and social development) to study the necessary arrangements to enforce this decree.
The committee has to raise its recommendations within thirty days of this date. The implementation of this decree shall start from June 23, 2018 according to the legal and regulatory rules adopted, and the completion of what is required by it.”
Saudi Women drive in their country for the first time