Published: Thu, June 07, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Saudi women have been issued driving licences

Saudi women have been issued driving licences

The women already had valid licenses from other countries, which allowed them to qualify for Saudi licenses ahead of June 24, when a countrywide ban on women driving will be reversed.

"It is no secret that many women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hold driving licenses from overseas", the statement added.

While Saudi law has never explicitly banned women from driving, women were not issued driving licences.

However, the tussle between a younger Saudi Arabia and the older conservative one is far from over as a number of women activists, who staunchly advocated for the right to drive, were arrested and branded threats to national security just days ago. Careem, Uber's largest Saudi competition, plans to hire 10,000 women drivers, according to The Week.

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The government released a statement saying that 10 women were issued the licenses on Monday.

Saudi Arabia has temporarily released eight people accused of communicating with organisations hostile to the kingdom, but is holding nine others in detention, state news agency SPA reported on Saturday.

However, not all Saudi women have found cause to celebrate, as many leaders of the campaign for women's rights who fought to lift the ban- both men and women- are in prison.

To boost the economy and ease global criticism, Saudi Arabia's 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has been promoting changes, like the decision to allow women to drive, all while risking backlash from clerics and others who adhere to the ultraconservative Wahhabi interpretation of Islam.

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Global news reporters were not present to witness the swap in the only country in the world which prevents women from getting behind the wheel.

Saudi women have previously petitioned the government for the lifting of the ban, and even taken to the wheel in protest. "If anything, since his ascent to power, the situation has become more repressive for human rights defenders".

"It also instills a sense of responsibility for yourself, your vehicle, the road, and the people around you, not to mention the economic and social dimensions of driving", she says in the ministry statement.

His Vision 2030 reform plan for a post-oil era seeks to elevate women to almost one-third of the work force, up from about 22 percent now.

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