Saudi Arabia to allow women to drive 0

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King Salman of Saudi Arabia has passed a royal decree allowing women in the country to drive for the first time. Female activists said the ruling was a “great victory” and that things would “never be the same again”.

The US ambassador to the country said the move was “the right decision at the right time”.

The decree goes a small way to bringing the Gulf state in line with the rest of the world; Saudi Arabia was the only remaining country that banned women from driving. Dress codes and gender segregation still remains firmly in place.

Until now, women who risked driving in public were likely to be arrested and fined.

Campaigner Sahar Nassif told the BBC: “I couldn’t believe it. I started laughing and jumping and screaming. It’s a great victory.

“I’m going to buy my dream car, a convertible Mustang, and it’s going to be black and yellow!”

Meanwhile, Latifah Alshaalan, a member of the Shura council, a government advisory panel, told broadcaster Al Arabiya: “This is a great victory for many Saudi women. This was the one file and issue which Saudi women have fought not just years, but decades for.”

Female activists have been campaigning for years for women to be allowed to drive, some have even been imprisoned as a result.

Major protests were organised in 1990, 2011 and 2013 with female drivers posting online videos of themselves.

The Saudi royal family have expressed support for ending the ban in recent years.

Not everyone reacted positively, however, with conservative voices accusing the government of “bending the verses of Sharia”.

The hashtags “I am my own guardian” and “Saudi Women Can Drive” quickly gained traction on social media – but so did the hashtag “the women of my house won’t drive”.

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