Saudi Arabian Women to Drive by Next June
Saudi Arabian women, are celebrating the news that they will be able to drive next June. The Saudi Foreign ministry announced Tuesday that a royal decree has been issued.This decree will allow women to drive throughout the kingdom. The decision follows years of activism and appeals both from within and outside the Gulf nation.
Hiring a Driver Takes a Third of the Salary
Aside from the convenience of driving, for female workers the biggest gain will be in not having to pay for a driver or other transportation out of their salaries. Employing a driver presently eats up a third of the average monthly salary. Kholoud Attar, a business owner, said, “Being able to drive really facilitates a lot of logistics and helps with shaving off the time to get things done. It’s so thrilling to be able to do this.”
Manal al-Sharif, one of the women behind the “Women2Drive campaign” in Saudi Arabia said the decision to allow women to drive “won’t make sense” to those outside the country, “but if you live in Saudi Arabia, it’s a huge battle that was won today.” Sharif presently lives in Australia. She was jailed in Saudi Arabia in 2011 after posting a video on YouTube of herself driving a car. The act caused death threats and spurred her to start the campaign. She told CNN that Saudi Arabia’s new leadership is young and courageous. She said, “There will be a ‘huge backlash’ from the ‘extremeist Islamists in my country. It won’t go unnoticed.'”