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Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women gaining driving licences in landmark decision

Cause for celebration

It’s been a long time coming, but women in Saudi Arabia are now allowed to drive.

King Salman on Tuesday ordered the reform in a royal decree, overturning an important facet of Saudi conservatism in the kingdom.

Women will no longer need permission from a legal guardian to get a licence and will not need a guardian in the car when they drive, said the new Saudi ambassador to Washington DC, Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.

Saudi Arabia had been the last country in the world in which women were banned from driving – a fact that was frequently used by critics as proof that female citizens of the kingdom were among the world’s most repressed.

In response to the announcement, Manal al-Sharif, who became the public face of the pro-feamle driving campaign after she was imprisoned for driving, tweeted: ‘Today the last country on earth to allow women to drive … we did it.’


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