Saudi Arabia Is Allowing Women to Drive Cars for the First Time

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Saudi King Salman has announced women in the ultraconservative kingdom will be able to drive for the first time next summer.

The decree has ordered that a ministerial body be set up to give advice within 30 days and that the order will be implemented by June 2018.

Neither Islamic law nor Saudi traffic law explicitly prohibited women from driving, but they were not issued licenses and were detained if they attempted to drive.

Saudi Arabia has reversed its long-standing and widely criticized ban against women driving.

"This decree is huge for Saudi Arabia", BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says.

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Earlier, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert hailed the "very positive sign".

The government no longer requires a guardian's permission for women to work - the kingdom wants to boost women in the workforce as part of an ambitious reform programme announced previous year - but activists say many employers still demand the permission before hiring.

"Today was a historic day for women in Saudi Arabia as a decree was announced to lift the ban on women drivers. An important step in the right direction". Saudi Arabia was the only country that didn't allow women to drive and the ban of this oppressive law was welcomed by everyone from around the world.

President Donald Trump has commended Saudi Arabia's decision to allow women to drive.

On March 14, 2017, a Women's Council was established in Saudi Arabia's Kassim province. The campaign fizzled after some women were jailed for driving. Women will be allowed to obtain licenses without the permission of a male relative. "#SaudiArabia", Ivanka, who has 4.62 million followers, posted on Twitter.

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Many of those same ultra-conservative clerics, who wield power and influence in the judiciary and education sectors, have also spoken out in the past against women driving, playing sports or entering the workforce.

Numerous 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.

There's a lot of work that still needs to be done in order to achieve gender equality in Saudi Arabia. "This is a good step forward for women's rights", she said speaking to The Associated Press from Saudi Arabia. He also added, "I think our leadership understands that our society is ready".

"Saudi Arabia will never be the same again". In a separate statement, the government said many senior religious leaders found no, quote, "impediment" in letting women drive.

Women drivers have previously been arrested and cars have been confiscated, activists said.

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