Uber and Careem in Saudi Arabia - what now?

Saudi Arabia agrees to let women drive
Possible opportunities from Saudi Arabia lifting the women driving ban
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28 September, 2017

After decades-long campaign run by fearless Saudi women for the right to drive, the conservative nation finally issued a decree authorizing the issuance of drivers' licenses for women in the kingdom.

King Salman ordered the reform in a royal decree delivered on Tuesday night, requesting that drivers' licences be issued to women who wanted them.

Over the years, conservative religious leaders with pull across all parts of Saudi life have said that allowing women to drive contradicts Sharia law, and encourages sinful behaviour.

On Tuesday Prince Khaled bin Salman, the kingdom's U.S. ambassador, spoke of it being "an historic and big day in our kingdom", adding, "I think our leadership understands that our society is ready".

"If by June next year women in Saudi Arabia are driving the streets without fear of arrest, then this will be a cause for celebration". Similarly, just last week, Saudi women were granted access to sports stadiums.

In less than a year, women in Saudi Arabia will be able to legally obtain drivers licenses and get behind the wheel-all without the permission of husbands, fathers, or other male "guardians".

He's apparently been one who has been pushing reform within the country.

US President Donald Trump said it was a positive step towards promoting women's rights.

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A committee is set to be formed to look into how to implement the new order by the King.

The progressive Prince Mohamed Bin Salman, son of King Salman from his third wife, was made heir-apparent in June.

The US State Department called it a "great step in the right direction", echoing a similar comment from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The Prince further highlighted the economic consequences of women not driving citing that it already costs as much as $1000 per month for a driver.

After more than two decades of campaigns, petitions and protests, women in Saudi Arabia now have the right to drive cars.

Saudi women are celebrating. But female candidates weren't allowed to speak to male voters and couldn't have men and women mixing in their campaign offices.

Other Twitter users pointed out that Saudi women are still under the male guardianship system, which among other things, prevents them from travelling without permission of the men in their family. "We ask for nothing short of full equality for women".

Among the opposition and ill intent, it is a win regardless for the women of Saudi Arabia.


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