Saudi Arabia's decision to lift its ban on women driving cars may help to restore sales growth in an auto market dented by the economic fallout from weak oil prices, handing an opportunity to importers of luxury cars and sport utility vehicles.
Rights groups and Saudi activists have long campaigned for the ban to be overturned, and some women have been arrested and jailed for defying the prohibition and taking the wheel.
The kingdom will issue driving licences to women from next June, in the most striking reform yet credited to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, despite the risk of a backlash from hardliners. Eman Al-Ghamidi was given the post "as part of plan to boost the number of females in leadership positions in line with Vision 2030", the Centre for International Communication at the Ministry of Culture and Information said in a statement. Others argued that allowing women to drive would lead to promiscuity and the collapse of the Saudi family.
In Saudi Arabia a jubilant atmosphere is prevailing among the women and they went onto greet each other on hearing the long awaited good news of the royal decree permitting women to drive.
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According to Politifact, Clinton's foundation took between $10 million and $25 million from Saudi Arabia, but "the amount hasn't changed since". There in that Kingdom, in the back seat, I would hold on for dear life until I found my fantastic Egyptian Christian driver, Zacchariah, who would observe the sedate 40mph speed that I felt comfortable in while the rest of the country drove routinely above 80mph and sometimes over 100 miles per hour.
- David Burge (@iowahawkblog) September 26, 2017Breaking: Saudi Arabia to join the 20th century in June of next year. And we were privileged women who had money and cars for drivers. The previous justifications provided by various religious scholars against women driving have proved nothing but a house of cards as the new decree has entitled women the right to drive.
"The move to allow women to drive is set to benefit the entire market", LMC analyst David Oakley said. "Women driving means great evils and this makes them especially sinful", one Riyadh-based Twitter user wrote.
The decision has sparked euphoria and disbelief among activists in the kingdom, which was the only country in the world to still ban women from driving. "Evil has come to Arabs".