Lifting of Ban on Saudi women’s driving
Sunday was a historic day in Saudi Arabia’s female right history. On Sunday, June 23, 2018, Saudi Arabia Lifted world’s last ban on women’s driving. This move was ordered by King Salman on last September and yesterday it came into force. This article takes a look at Saudi’s lifting of Ban on Saudi women’s driving.
A Historic day
After years of protest of women activists, Saudi Arabia finally lifted its Ban on Saudi women’s driving. Talking to Guardian, Samar Almogren, A talk show and writer, said that she knew this day would come. But it came fast. One of the first Saudi women to be issued with a driving license, Samira-al-Ghamdi said that this move of the lifting of Ban on Saudi women’s driving would totally change their lives. Previously women were dependent on males and chauffers to travel anywhere via car. This move will bring a sense of autonomy in their lives.
This ending of Ban on Saudi women’s driving was welcomed by human rights campaigners all over the world.
This day was a result of years of struggle. The struggle started in November 1990 where more than 40 Saudi women protest in capital Riyadh by driving their cars. This protest was met with one-day imprisonment. Then in September 2007 a petition with 1000 signatures was submitted to the king. Afterwards, in 2011, the campaign went digital with “Women2drive” followed by dozens of Saudi women going behind the wheel. On November 30, 2014, activists Loujain al- Hathloul and Maysaa al- Amoudi were charged with terrorism-related crimes. They were detained for 73 days. Then finally on 26 September 2017 king Salman announced preparation to be made to lift the Ban on Saudi women’s driving.
Unfortunately, even after the King’s announcement, more than a dozen prominent women activists were arrested. The accusation was their suspicious contact with a foreign enemy.
Cause of lifting of Ban on Saudi women’s driving
To strengthen women’s status in Saudi Arabia-
King Salman is known as risk-taking personality. He intends to change the current strata of society. This lifting on Ban on Saudi women’s driving is one of the most initiatives he has taken to strengthen the position of women in the society. Other initiatives include relaxation on women’s strict dress code, women candidacy in Municipal elections and more economic opportunity for women in public sector.
To boost the economy –
The lifting of the Ban on Saudi women’s driving is a part of Saudi Vision 2030. The government is trying to reduce its oil dependence and also their dependence on public sector jobs. This move will push more citizens including women towards the private sector and reduce their dependence on the public sector.
Changes within Hause of Saud-
Recently King Salman became Crown Prince. He is trying to construct a public image different from the previous rulers. Supporting women’s right is one good way to do it.
Saudi Arabia is a known suppressor of women right. The country is known for its patriarchal society. However, times are changing and so their economy and population. They no more can rely on their oil fields. Their current model cant meets the demand of booming population. That’s why they are changing their stance. The lifting of Ban on Saudi women’s driving is more of an economic move than the human rights move because there are still 47 women activists who are behind the bars for driving. Fight for Saudi women’s right is far from over. So buckle up! Because time is short and there is a long road ahead.