September 26, 2017 3:25 pm
Updated: January 12, 2018 11:43 am

Saudi Arabia announces it will let women drive

WATCH ABOVE: Women in Saudi Arabia have finally been granted the right to drive after decades of protest.

A A

Saudi Arabia has announced that it will let women drive. The move comes after decades of campaigning from human rights groups.

The kingdom, which has a history of oppressive laws against women, made the decision public through a state television address Tuesday.

READ MORE: Saudi woman arrested for wearing skirt released without charges

The royal decree by King Salman ordered the formation of a ministerial body to give advice within 30 days, then implement the order by June 2018, according to state news agency.

The announcement added that the new rules must “apply and adhere to the necessary Sharia standards.” But the kingdom did not elaborate on what that would entail.

WATCH: First female-focused motor show opens in Saudi Arabia


Story continues below

But the Saudi ambassador to the United States added that any woman with a driver’s licence in the six countries that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council — including United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Oman — would be allowed to drive.

“I think our leadership understands our society is ready,” ambassador Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz said.

He added that women would not need permission from a legal guardian to get a licence, nor would they need a guardian in the car while driving.

Saudi Arabia is currently the only country in the world that prohibits women from driving.

WATCH: Critics question Saudi Arabia joining UN Commission on Status of Women

The U.S. State Department reacted to the news by saying it is a welcome step.

“It’s a great step in the right direction for that country,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

The move comes just days after women in the country were allowed into a sporting event at the King Fahd International Stadium for the first time.

While the country’s latest decision increases the amount of freedom given to women, they still face several restrictions when it comes to aspects such as legal freedoms, clothing, and partaking in the workforce.

— With files from Reuters

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error

Comments

Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.