MARWAN NAAMANI | AFP | Getty Images
Saudi activist Manal Al Sharif, who currently lives in Dubai, flashes the sign for victory as she drives her car from the Gulf Emirate city
Women in Saudi Arabia took to the roads at midnight on Sunday, ushering from the end of the earth’s last ban on female drivers, long seen as an emblem of women’s repression from the deeply conservative Muslim kingdom.
“in which feels weird, I am so happy … I’m just too proud to be doing in which right currently,” said 23-year-old Majdooleen al-Ateeq as she cruised across Riyadh for the 1st time in her black Lexus.
The lifting of the ban, ordered last September by King Salman, is usually part of sweeping reforms pushed by his powerful young son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in a bid to transform the economy of the earth’s top oil exporter in addition to open up its cloistered society.
Women drove up in addition to down a main road from the eastern city of Khobar in addition to cheered as police looked on.
“We are ready, in addition to in which will totally change our life,” said Samira al-Ghamdi, a 47-year-old psychologist by Jeddah, one of the first women to be issued a license.
The lifting of the ban, which for years drew international condemnation in addition to comparisons to the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan, has been welcomed by Western allies as proof of a completely new progressive trend in Saudi Arabia.
however in which has been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent, including against some of the very activists who previously campaigned against the ban. They currently sit in jail as their peers take to the road legally for the 1st time.
Women with foreign drivers’ licenses only began converting them earlier in which month, so the number of completely new drivers remains low. Others are training at completely new state-run schools, with 3 million women required to drive by 2020.
Some still face resistance by conservative relatives, in addition to many accustomed to private drivers say they are reluctant to take on the country’s busy highways.
“I definitely won’t like to drive,” said Fayza al-Shammary, a 22-year-old saleswoman. “I like to be a princess with someone opening your vehicle door for me in addition to driving me anywhere.”