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Saudi Arabia Have Officially Issued Their First Drivers Licences To Women

A big change

Saudi Arabia Have Officially Issued Their First Drivers Licences To Women

Saudi Arabia has issued the first driving licences to 10 women as it prepares to lift the world's only ban on women driving on June 24.

The surprise move comes as a number of women who had campaigned for the right to drive are under arrest.

A government statement said the 10 women who were issued licences already held driving licences from other countries, including the US, UK, Lebanon and Canada.

They took a brief driving test and eye exam before being issued the licences at the General Department of Traffic in the capital Riyadh.

Other women across the country have been preparing for the right to drive on June 24 by taking driving courses on female-only college campuses.

Some are even training to become drivers for ride hailing companies like Uber.

Saudi women had long complained of having to hire costly male drivers, use taxis or rely on male relatives to get to work and run errands.

While Saudi law has never explicitly banned women from driving, women were not issued driving licences.

Often, police would detain a female driver until a male relative could pick her up and sign a pledge on her behalf that she would not drive again.

Ultraconservatives viewed women driving as immoral and warned women would be subject to sexual harassment if they drove.

Just four years ago, the country's top cleric, Grand Mufti Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, said barring women from driving "was in the best interest of society" because it protected them from having to deal with an accident.

 

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