Saudi Arabia raises ban on women driving

Saudi Arabia raises ban on women driving”

A DAY after Saudi Arabia's rulers granted women the right to drive, Saudis and other Arabs expressed mixed emotions yesterday about the overturning of one of the kingdom's most widely criticised restrictions on human rights.

Saudi Arabia was the only country to ban women from driving.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, the total amount of the second issuance has been sized at $12.5billion, equivalent to SAR 46.9 billion, consisting of three tranches of Notes as follows: $3 billion (equivalent to SAR 11.3 billion) Notes maturing 2023, $5 billion (equivalent to SAR 18.8 billion) Notes maturing 2028, and $4.5 billion (equivalent to SAR 16.9 billion) Notes maturing 2047.

Signed by his father, King Salman, and broadcast on state television, the decree said the "majority of senior scholars" had deemed the change legitimate under Islamic law and ordered the government ministries concerned to make whatever legal adjustments are required to implement it by June 24 next year.

Saudi officials and clerics have provided numerous explanations for the ban in recent years. Some clerics have said that it was inappropriate in Saudi culture to drive, while others have said that male drivers would not know how to handle driving with women in the cars next to them. These include laws which require women to be accompanied by a male "guardian" when they leave their homes. "We will continue to support Saudi Arabia in its to efforts to strengthen Saudi society and the economy through reforms like this and the implementation of Saudi Vision 2030".

Low oil prices have limited the government jobs that many Saudi families have relied on and authorities are looking to push more citizens, including women, into employment.

Saudi Arabia allowed women into a stadium for the first time in the country's history, to attend a show organized for the kingdom's 87th national holiday.

But many have welcomed the development as an important step.

Prince Khaled bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Washington and the king's son, said letting women drive is a "huge step forward" and that "society is ready".

Activist Manal al-Sherif, who was arrested in 2011 after a driving protest, took to Twitter following the king's announcement to express her relief.

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