The women of Saudi Arabia can now drive, a right they’ve been working toward for decades.
Up until now, women have been prohibited from driving a car themselves in public. If they did, it was a punishable offense resulting in prison time.
Of course one must wonder, how did they learn to drive then?
While the law prohibited driving in public, women were allowed to drive on private property at any time.
According to the BBC, women are still subjected to dress codes that align with traditional Sharia law and segregation based on their gender alone. However, there has been progress.
In fact, the Saudi royal family also supported the legalization of female drivers.
The BBC also reported that not everybody felt positive about the decision. Some conservative government officials still believe the end of the ban does not align with the laws of Sharia.
The legalization of female drivers means that they will no longer have to rely on a large amount of chauffeurs.
Jenika Rufer, secretary of Women’s Activist Organization, said, “This is a big step for women in Saudi Arabia and around the world. It’s a step towards equality and fair treatment of women. With this new ruling they will have more freedom. Women will have access to more necessities and opportunities in the workforce for example. This will allow them more economic freedom.”
She’s got a point — the more freedom women have to go places the more they’re likely to spend at those places, creating a positive impact on the economy.
Thomas Ambrosio, a professor of political science, said, “It’s significant because we are starting to see very small baby steps of Saudi Arabia attempting to join the 21st century in terms of social policies.”
Ambrosio then referenced Saudi Arabia’s very strict rule of law was based on an ideological system.