Driving change
Saudi Arabia will finally allow women to drive
But bigger changes are needed in the ultraconservative kingdom
Middle East & Africa
Sep 27th 2017
THE roads in Riyadh are about to undergo a historic change. On September 26th Saudi Arabia announced the end of its decades-old ban on female drivers. It is the only country in the world to have such a stricture, which became a symbol of the ultraconservative kingdom’s repression of women.
For many Saudi women, the change is long overdue. Dozens of them got behind the wheel in Riyadh in 1990 to demand more rights. Some were prosecuted or lost their government jobs. The protests resumed in 2008 and peaked soon after the Arab uprisings in 2011. “We have lived to see this day after 27 years,” said Hessa al-Sheikh, one of the original activists.
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