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[LISTEN] Saudi Arabia to allow women to obtain driver's licences

27 Septembre 2017

Arwa, a 30-year-old business consultant, said that King Salman's decree is not just a step in the right direction, but a "leap" for women in her country.

"President Donald J. Trump commends Saudi Arabia's decision to affirm the right of women to drive in the kingdom", a White House statement read. "This is an economical decision and a human rights one".

Other measures included allowing women to attend soccer matches and the inclusion of physical education in girls' school curriculum.

"Women will no longer need a crutch to access the simple freedom of movement", she said.

Saudi Arabia has finally agreed to let its women citizens drive.

On a flight from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to the Saudi capital of Riyadh right after the decision was announced, men walked up the aisle to congratulate women - an especially unusual move in a society where unrelated men and women usually do not speak to each other.

In addition to not being able to drive, women are for example subject to the guardianship of a male family member, usually the father, husband or brother - to work, to study or to travel. A high-level committee is now being set up to oversee the rollout of the new policy. "I think it's the right decision at the right time". He said the implementation delay was needed to ensure that the legal and logistical environment was prepared for the change.

"It is awesome", 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. The videos garnered hundreds of thousands of views, and often landed the activists in jail.

"It is a pretty reasonable 2 million women per vehicle, so I don't see why this could be a problem", said Hani Al Tamahi, spokesperson for the Saudi Arabian government. It would not. So how can it give it to a woman when she has only half?

Right now, Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that doesn't allow women to drive.

"You can't imagine the happiness I feel".

Kholoud Attar, a 32-year-old Saudi designer and magazine owner who has been running her business for 10 years, told CNN the change would make a "huge difference" both to her and to her female employees.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says the U.S.is "happy" with the move.

An employee of a local Saudi Toyota dealership tells AMEinfo: "We do expect sales to increase in Riyadh, but only by approximately ten per cent in the first year [of the ban being lifted]". I also choose to celebrate the moments when they earn the right to take the steering wheel, and drive to a place where we can all safely complain about the smaller stuff.

Jeddah- Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman received on Tuesday the 53rd annual report of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), which reviews the economic and financial developments in the Kingdom during the year 2016.

In another tweet, the campaigner said: "Saudi Arabia will never be the same again".

King Salman's decree, which takes effect next June, is part of an ambitious reform push that runs the risk of a backlash from religious hardliners.

The announcement follows a dazzling gender-mixed celebration of Saudi National Day at the weekend, the first of its kind, which aimed to spotlight the kingdom's reform drive. These rules also impact the ability of some employers to hire women where segregated office spaces are not available. "Now was the time, with the Saudi economy struggling with low oil prices and the monarchy facing some internal pressures".

Not everyone is likely to be pleased by the lifting of the driving ban.

Ms Al Azzouni said she hopes that the next steps will include the government focusing on the country's infrastructure and public transport.

[LISTEN] Saudi Arabia to allow women to obtain driver's licences