Saudi Arabia to Allow Women to Drive

There’s an article in the Telegraph online, but nothing in the Saudi Arabia-based Arab News.

Saudi Arabia is to lift its ban on women drivers in an attempt to stem a rising suffragette-style movement in the deeply conservative state.

Government officials have confirmed the landmark decision and plan to issue a decree by the end of the year.

The end of the year. Why, that’s a mere eleven-plus short months from now.

Here’s what the naysayers say:

Critics believe allowing women to drive would be the first step towards a gradual erosion of the kingdom’s modesty laws. A woman would have to remove the traditional abaya robe to get a clear view behind the wheel.

“Allowing women to drive will only bring sin,” a letter to Al-Watan newspaper declared last year. “The evils it would bring – mixing between the genders, temptations, and tarnishing the reputation of devout Muslim women – outweigh the benefits.”



Filed under arab, Saudi Arabia

2 responses to “Saudi Arabia to Allow Women to Drive

  1. Roy

    That’s wonderful! And long overdue. Of course, the ban was only adopted in the early 90s, right? Wasn’t it an effort to appease the likes of Usamah bin Laden, who are likely leading the naysayers?

    The Saudi women who’ve been driving outside the Kingdom will have a leg up on those who’ve never driven. I seem to recall one Gulf state, maybe Bahrain, banned head coverings for women many years ago, because too many young kids were covering their heads and driving.

  2. I can’t find reliable information on whether women have ever been allowed to drive, but in general they had more freedom prior to the terrorist seizure of the Grand Mosque in 1979.
    Also, way back in the day Muhammad’s wives rode horses and camels, etc.
    Just saw an article about car makers chomping at the bit to sell cars to women in Saudi Arabia.

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