Date Set for Saudi Arabia to Lift Ban on Women Drivers

AP Photo/Hasan Jamali
AP Photo/Hasan Jamali

Saudi women, start your engines. The General Department of Traffic Director General Mohammed al-Bassami said on Tuesday that female drivers will be allowed the freedom of the road in the deeply conservative kingdom from June 24.

“All the requirements for women in the kingdom to start driving have been established,” Bassami said in a statement quoted by AFP.

In September 2017, a royal decree announced the end of a decades-long ban on women driving — the only one of its kind in the world, as Breitbart Jerusalem reported.

The rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, is largely seen as being the catalyst behind this move. His Vision 2030 reform plan for a post-oil era seeks to elevate women to nearly one-third of the workforce, up from about 22 percent now.

For decades, hardliners cited austere Islamic interpretations to justify the ban on women, with some maintaining that they lacked the intelligence to drive and allowing them to do so would promote promiscuity.

These objections have now effectively been swept aside.

Women 18 years of age and older will be allowed to apply for a driver’s license, Bassami said.

Driving schools for women have been set up across five cities in Saudi Arabia, and teachers will include Saudi women who obtained their licenses abroad.

“It is no secret that many women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hold driving licences from abroad,” the statement added.

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