Saudi women driving ban lifted: Euphoria and sarcasm

Posted September 29, 2017

Carmakers joined governments in welcoming the order by Saudi Arabia's King Salman that new rules allowing women to drive be drawn up within 30 days and implemented by June 2018, removing a stain on the country's worldwide image.

- Gabriella Paiella (@GMPaiella) September 26, 2017I agree it's a encouraging sign, but banning women from driving ranks about 8,349th on Saudi Arabia's list of human rights violations.

The kingdom will issue driving licences to women from next June, in the most striking reform yet credited to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, despite the risk of a backlash from hardliners.

"Congratulations to all Saudi women who will now be able to drive", Nissan said in a Twitter post depicting a license plate bearing the registration "2018 GRL". "What we've seen in the past is more limited proposals: that women can drive if they are going to work, or if they're going to the supermarket, but no joyriding", [Middle Eastern specialist Adam] Coogle said.

Saudi Arabia announced today that it will overturn a longstanding ban and allow women to drive.

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has met with Saudi King Salman Abdulaziz on Wednesday during his two-day official visit to the Kingdom amid tensions over Somalia's neutral position in the Gulf crisis.

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US President Donald Trump welcomed the decision as "a positive step toward promoting the rights and opportunities of women in Saudi Arabia".

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"The move to allow women to drive is set to benefit the entire market", LMC analyst David Oakley said.

Some hit back at sexist jokes that flooded Saudi Twitter in the wake of the driving ban being lifted, reminding people that Saudi Arabia has one of the world's highest auto accidents rates, while only men are driving.

"It is unbelievable", 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 Tuesday's announcement, the hashtags "I am my own guardian" and "Saudi Women Can Drive" gained traction on social media. The biggest issue may be winning the approval of Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi clerics, the most conservative of the Islamic faith.

According to the clerics, the majority of Council members saw no problem with women driving as long as there were guarantees and laws to maintain the respect and dignity of women, Efe reported.