Today marks a groundbreaking day as far as Saudi Arabia is concerned, as the country has issued its first driving licenses to ten women ahead of lifting the Kingdom’s ban on female drivers. It’s currently the world’s only ban on women drivers and is due to be removed from June 24.
Previously, women had complained about having to hire costly drivers, use taxis or rely on male members of their family to get to work, run errands and generally get around.
Last year, the Crown Prince outlined his new plan to reform the Saudi economy by 2030, with part of that goal including increasing the number of women in the workforce, hence the huge change.
Women who had previously held licenses in other countries were on Monday given Saudi licenses after undertaking a driving exam and an eye test, and photos of them with their new licenses have been released by the Saudi Information Ministry.
“It’s a dream come true that I am about to drive in the kingdom,” said Rema Jawdat, who received a licence.
“Driving to me represents having a choice – the choice of independent movement. Now we have that option.”
Previously, activist groups in the Kingdom have campaigned to allow women to drive, and some women have been imprisoned for defying the rules.
Although the society has a long way to go when it comes to treating women as equal citizens, this is definitely a step in the right direction.
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