Finally! Saudi Arabia’s ban on female drivers has been lifted. This is a first for the country and “brings the ultra-conservative Gulf nation into line with the rest of the world.” But what does this really mean for the women there?
CNN cites that this will liberate women “from the constraints of needing to hire a male driver to travel small distances.” This will also give them the opportunity to work for ride-hailing companies like Uber.
After the historic announcement, over 120,000 women applied for a driver’s license. One told CNN that as soon as they left the license office, they’re greeted with congratulatory remarks from random strangers.
This is a big move for Saudi Arabia, but the fight for female equality is not over yet. Refinery29 notes that the male guardianship system—a law that requires a woman to be accompanied by a man—continues to be a discriminatory problem. This system also gives men the power to decide for the women, that includes getting married, traveling, and applying for a passport. The lift in the driving ban will simply allow women to drive without asking permission.
That said, we’re hoping for more progressive and inclusive moves from the country, as well as other places with the same rules. Because women deserve to be free from oppressive practices and notions.[CNN and Refinery29]
Photo courtesy of CNN
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