Welcome to the Early 20th Century! Women Can Now Drive in Saudi Arabia

Christine Rousselle
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Posted: Sep 26, 2017 3:30 PM
Welcome to the Early 20th Century! Women Can Now Drive in Saudi Arabia

Big news out of Saudi Arabia, where women are finally permitted to drive a car per a new royal decree. A tweet from the Saudi Press Agency account said that driver's licenses will now be available to both men and women, a change from past policy. 

A translation of the SPA tweet reads as follows: 

"Issuing a special order for the application of the provisions of the Traffic Law and its executive regulations - including issuing driving licenses - to both males and females. # W # Urgent_was"

While there was no official law banning women from driving in Saudi Arabia, the practice was prohibited for "religious beliefs." As recently as last year, the deputy crown prince said that the country was "not ready" for women drivers. 

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia overturned a policy that required a woman to have a male guardian to receive any sort of government service, like acquire a passport, visit a doctor, or get a job outside of the home. Despite this, women in Saudi Arabia are still subject to a very restrictive dress code and there is much gender segregation in Saudi society--including in places like parks, beaches, and banks. 

Let me be the first to extend my congratulations to Saudi Arabia for finally reaching the early 20th century and allowing women the freedom to drive a vehicle if they so choose. What's next--perhaps women will be allowed to wear makeup and the clothing of their choice?