As per media reports, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has issued a decree for the first time allowing women to drive. The government ministries will prepare reports within 30 days and the order will be implemented by June 2018.
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world which bans women drivers. Under the current system, only men with driving licenses are allowed to drive while women drivers are subjected to arrest and heavy fines.
Rights group in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have protested the ban for years. Some of the women have also been arrested in the process.
“The royal decree will implement the provisions of traffic regulations, including the issuance of driving licenses for men and women alike,” a press agency reported.
Social media campaigns such as “I am my own guardian” and “Saudi Women Can Drive” swiftly gained traction online.
As per a statement made by Prince Khaled bin Salman, KSA’s U.S. ambassador, it was a historic and a big day with the right decision at the right time. The women need not take permission from the male guardians. They are free to drive anywhere.
The move was welcomed by the U.S. State department. Antonio Guterres, the U.N. Secretary General, reiterated the sentiments.
Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul, who was detained for contesting the ban, wrote “thank god” on Twitter.
Manal al-Sharif, an organizer of ‘Woman2Drive’ campaign wrote on a social media platform, Saudi Arabia would never be the same again.
Sahar Nassif, an activist in Jeddah said, “I am going to buy my dream car, a convertible mustang, and it’s going to be black and yellow.”