Saudi Arabia to allow women to drive News
Saudi Arabia to allow women to drive

Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud [BBC profile] on Tuesday announced [press release] by decree that the country will grant women driver’s licenses beginning next June.

The order was broadcast though Saudi Arabia’s state television channel [official site] and would allow women the legal right to drive. The country is the only nation to outright forbid women from driving in any capacity due to the guardianship laws JURIST op-ed] in connection with cultural and religious beliefs associated with Sharia Law.

The decree reads as follows:

We adopt the application of the provisions of the Traffic Law and its Executive Regulations—including the issuance of driving licenses—to both males and females, and to form a high-level committee of ministries of (internal affairs, finance, labor and social development) to study the necessary arrangements for enforcement; the implementation shall be—God willing—as of 10/10/1439 AH, in accordance with the approved Sharia and regulations and completion of what is required by it.

Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz [Alarabiya profile], the Saudi Ambassador to the US, supported [RT report] the decree by saying it had become socially acceptable for women to drive as women are a growing economic force [CNN report]. However, women may still need permission from their male family members to drive as the decree gives the committee the right to create guidelines within Sharia.