It’s hard to believe that in 2017 women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive. Shwaya, shwaya! Saudi Arabia announced this week that it would allow women to drive, ending a long-term approach that’s shown the world how oppressed women can be in the Middle East.
We’ve learned from jokers on YouTube about how hard it is for women, and beyond giving them low morale, not being able to drive restricts women to where they can work, who they can be friends with and when they can go shopping. They currently need a male escort, a guy from the family or a paid chauffeur to drive them around.
Saudi women have defied the ban, especially unmarried Saudi chicks and we’ve reported on them here, and if you go to Jeddah today don’t expect to see women in hijab driving around in convertibles. The change will only take effect next June, 2018, it was announced in a royal decree. For some late-night bedtime reading, check out the House of Saud.
The driving ban has damaged the way the world looks at Saudi Arabia (duh!), and the country hopes that the world will look at it more favorably. Locally, women will now be able to come and go as they please and be free from spending large parts of their salaries on drivers. With all that extra money and freedom, we wonder what Saudi women will want?
This funny video showed how silly the ban is for women. You can read our post on it, here.
“It is amazing,” said Fawziah al-Bakr, a Saudi university professor who was among 47 women who participated in the kingdom’s first protest against the ban — in 1990. After driving around the Saudi capital, Riyadh, the women were arrested and some lost their jobs, she told the New York Times. “Since that day, Saudi women have been asking for the right to drive, and finally it arrived,” she told the Times by phone. “We have been waiting for a very long time.”