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Friday, 13 December 2019

Saudi media celebrates repeal of ban on women driving

Al-Riyadh and Al-Madina websites hailed the Saudi government and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the direction in which Saudi Arabia is moving

Ahram Online , Sunday 24 Jun 2018
Saudi women
Dr Samira al-Ghamdi, a practicing psychologist, drives her car out in her neighborhood while going to work, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia June 24, 2018 (Reuters).
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The Saudi Arabian media have praised the lifting of the ban on female drivers in the Kingdom, as a law that allows women to drive came into effect on Sunday.

Multiple Saudi Arabian news outlets have posted photos of police officers celebrating the "historic day" by giving out bouquets to women drivers.

Other photos posted by news websites displayed exuberant Saudi women behind the wheel for the first time.

Al-Riyadh and Al-Madina websites hailed the Saudi government and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the direction in which Saudi Arabia is moving.

Lifting the ban on women driving is only one of many changes the crown prince and the Saudi government have made as part of accomplishing the "Saudi Vision 2030" campaign.

In past years, Saudi media had criticised the idea of allowing women to drive in the ‎kingdom, shaming activists who supported the idea.

One of Saudi Arabia's most popular newspapers, Okaz, positively reacted to the lift on the ban. The main article on its website is titled "1,2,3, The Road Is Yours."

The daily newspaper quoted jurists and religious scholars who argued that women driving is not against Islamic sharia.

The ban on women driving was based on a fatwa supported by the country's head of religious fatwas.

However, the ban was lifted after Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud signed a royal decree in September 2017.

Licences were issued to women during the past month.

Okaz's opinion section on its website is also filled with many articles praising and backing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi government.

However, Sabq, another popular newspaper in Saudi Arabia, carried an article on its homepage titled: "Saudi Woman Driving is Nothing New … What is the Difference Now?"

The article highlights the fact that Saudi women have been able to drive in compounds, but not in cities, for decades.

The article expands on efforts being taken in Saudi Arabia to further integrate women into society, whether by employing more women or giving them more opportunities. 

Bin Salman and the 2030 campaign aim to modernise Saudi Arabian business, society and culture. The ‎campaign has already introduced cinemas, fashion shows and ‎concerts for the first time in Saudi history.

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