RIYADH — SAUDI ARABIA
His Excellence King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, in a historic piece of legislation, decreed that driver’s licenses should be issued to both men and women alike. Effective June 2018, the decree was announced in Saudi Arabia as well as in a simultaneous conference in Washington, D.C.
A committee composed of the ministries of internal affairs, finance, labor, and social development has been formed and assigned the onus of ascertaining the process of the implementation of this revolutionary decree. The committee will present its results in 30 days.
Saudi leaders hope that the new policy will invigorate the economy by increasing women’s participation in the workforce.
Previously, Saudi women in the workforce had to rely primarily on hiring private drivers for transportation, which cost them a discouraging amount of their salary. Hence many women were obliged to refrain from entering the workforce, especially the private sector.
The now revoked ban, which barred women from driving, was one unique to the country and its conservative policies.
Moreover, His Highness’s royal decree came at a crucial time, with the country to seeking to modernize its economy by realizing Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s ambitious 2030 vision. The Kingdom currently needs all hands on deck, and now, women too can build the Saudi Arabia of tomorrow by virtue of this law facilitating their involvement in the shifting Saudi economy.
In a small news conference in the Washington D.C. Saudi embassy, Prince Khalid Bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador, said that women will be able to obtain driver’s licenses without their guardian’s consent. He also clarified that women will be allowed to drive alone, but further instructions from the ministry of interior will indicate whether or not they will be able to work as professional drivers. Furthermore, he believes opposition to the policy will be thin. “I think our society is ready,” he stated.