Saudi women given the right to drive by royal decreee

PA Archive  PA Images
Prime Minister Theresa May meets King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia in Manama Bahrain

The move comes after decades of campaigning from human rights groups.

"On this cherished anniversary of the unification of our dear country, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we assert its effective and influential status", the prince said in his speech.

The ban in Saudi Arabia, which is governed by Shariah law, has always been a part of conservative rules that limit how women in the country lived their daily lives. "Ever since Mohammed bin Salman's rise, he has fast-tracked all the changes that are needed for our country", said Marwa Afandi, a 35-year-old event planner in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

So-called "guardianship" laws give men power over their female relatives.

A woman drives a auto in Saudi Arabia in 2013.

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This follows many years of work by activists in Saudi Arabia to draw worldwide attention to the restrictions, including driving despite the ban as an act of civil disobedience.

He told the New York Times that he paired King Faisal and Yoda as they were both intelligent and because Yoda's green skin and lightsaber match the green of the Saudi flag.

The move by King Salman ended the conservative Islamic kingdom's status as the only country where women behind the wheel is forbidden. But some working Saudi women say hiring private drivers to get them to and from work eats up much of their pay, diminishing the incentive to work. A committee will be formed to look into how to implement the new order. It has 30 days to make recommendations which will be put into action in June 2018.

"Some said that it was inappropriate in Saudi culture for women to drive, or that male drivers would not know how to handle women in cars next to them".

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