Washington (September 27, 2017): Saudi Arabia is easing restrictions on women driving, finally allowing almost half its population to get behind the wheel.
A royal decree has been issued that will allow women in the country to drive, the Saudi Foreign ministry said Tuesday on its official Twitter account.
A committee has been formed to implement the ruling. The move to ease restrictions on women has huge implications for the Saudi economy and women’s ability to work. It is just the latest in a series of changes that have been rippling through Saudi Arabia since the rise of 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
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The crown prince, known casually as “MBS,” is spearheading an ambitious plan to reform and transform the Saudi economy by 2030 and, in line with that goal, increase the number of women in the workforce. Bin Salman, who was appointed by his father to the position of crown prince in June, is seen as a major power in the country and is expected by many to be named king before too long.
His success on that front is evident in the way Saudi Arabia, which is celebrating the 87th anniversary of its creation this month, has recently been easing some restrictions on women.
Women were allowed to enter a sports stadium for the first time on September 23, for a special pageant.
There have also been some easing of restrictions on women’s ability to work in the fields of law and education. In 2015, women were elected to municipal councils for the first time.