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“We did it” - Women in Saudi Arabia are finally allowed to drive

This is fantastic, momentous news.

Just last month a Saudi cleric was reportedly banned from preaching after saying women should not be allowed to drive because their brains shrink to a quarter of the size of a man's when they go shopping.

Well this is one in the eye for you pal, because change is really afoot in the Gulf country. The most significant step of which is a decree by King Salman that women can finally drive after decades of campaigning.

Saudi Arabia was the last remaining country in the world to forbid women to drive. Any women caught driving in public would be arrested and potentially imprisoned. This did not stop many campaigners getting behind the wheel to show their opposition to the law however, and ending up in prison for it.

One such campaigner Manal al-Sharif, who was imprisoned for driving, tweeted, “Today the last country on earth to allow women to drive...we did it”.

Fellow campaigner Sahar Nassif expressed her pure joy to reporters. She said she was very very excited – jumping up and down and laughing.
She continued: “I'm going to buy my dream car, a convertible mustang, and it's going to be black and yellow”.

Of course there are opponents to the change including upholders of Wahhabism, a strict form of Sunni Islam, known for its gender segregation rules. They believe the change in the law directly flouts the verses of Sharia.

The driving decree is part of a programme called Vision 2030, promoted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, to modernise Saudi society and bring it more into line with the rest of the world.

There is a long way to go. Saudi women still have to adhere to strict dress codes, must not associate with unrelated men, and if they travel, work or access healthcare they must be accompanied, or receive permission, from a male guardian.

But change is on the horizon, and with a black and yellow convertible mustang to take them there, these women are on the right road.


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