It is a big step allowing women to drive in Saudi but they will have to ask themselves these questions
27 September 2017| Last updated on 27 September 2017
Women across the world are excited for women in Saudi Arabia as King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud announced on Tuesday, September, 26th 2017 that the ban on women driving will soon be lifted.
This is a big victory in a long battle of women’s rights in the Kingdom and allowing women to drive. Over the years, many women have been arrested in aid of this cause and today they can finally say that it was worth it. There are however still certain challenges that they will have to overcome before this is implemented and questions that they will need to answer.
Is Saudi Arabia’s society ready for women to get behind the wheel?
Most of the women in Saudi are ready to get their licenses and start driving but is the society as a whole ready for it? There are no laws forbidding women to drive and nothing is mentioned in the Quran that women aren’t allowed to drive. Rather, the Quran encourages equality between men and women. Even though there was a ban implemented on women driving in Saudi, it has mainly been because of the community in Saudi Arabia that the restriction was applied to women.
Will there be restrictions?
With women not being able to leave the house without a male guardian, will they require a guardian to be with them when they drive? And will there, as most other things in Saudi, be restrictions on them that men don’t have?
In 2013 Saudi Arabia announced that women can now ride bicycles! Sort of… Women still need to wear a full abaya while cycling, they can only cycle in specific places and their male guardian needs to be with them. Will Saudi do something similar with allowing women to drive, sort of?
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What about male guardianship?
Women currently aren’t allowed to leave the house without male guardianship so now people are wondering if this will remain. Will the Kingdom become more lenient on women being able to come and go without having to ask permission or ask their guardian to accompany them?
Will they become more lenient on women?
The Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. - Khalid bin Salman said that women will not need to obtain permission in order to get their license. Currently, adult women in Saudi does need to obtain permission from a guardian to work, travel, study, or marry. Getting a car is, however, a big step in getting your own independence so is this the first step to gender equality in Saudi Arabia?