Saudi Arabian women driving change

Women in Saudi Arabia have been granted the right to drive after King Salman issued a royal decree on Tuesday.

The Gulf kingdom has faced years of internal and international criticism for being the only country in the world to ban female drivers.

The news has been celebrated by women and female activists both within Saudi Arabia and around the world, however many took to social media to call for greater change in a country where women are still subject to strict dress codes, gender segregation and a male guardianship system.

Within the past decade Saudi Arabia has granted women the right to vote and stand for election and the right to compete in international sports, such as the Olympic Games.

However human rights activists argue the kingdom still has a long way to go on women’s rights, particularly in relation to the guardianship laws, which require all women to have a legal male guardian in order to travel or perform many public tasks, such as opening a bank account or accessing healthcare.

For now, it is being hailed a major victory for Saudi Arabian women. The royal decree will come into effect in June next year. – Bakri Mahmoud