In a landmark decision, Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday it will now allow women to drive for the first time. Saudi Arabia was the only country in the world to restrict women from driving. For years, the ultra-conservative kingdom had attracted negative publicity globally fordetaining women who defied the ban.
State-run Saudi Press Agency and state TV reported late Tuesday announcing that a royal order was issued for both men and women to be issued drivers’ licenses. It said a new committee will be formed to implement the new order. Since the 1990s, women’s rights activists have been pushing for the right to drive, arguing that it reflects their larger struggle for equality under the rule of law.Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump praised Saudi Arabia’s decision to allow women to drive. The statement from the White House press secretary’s office says Trump viewed the change as “a positive step toward promoting the rights and opportunities of women in Saudi Arabia”.
Saudi Arabia’s latest move comes as the ultra-conservative kingdom works to improve its image and the perception of its human rights recordin the United States and the West.