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Saudi Arabia agrees to let women drive

A+Saudi+woman+sits+behind+the+wheel+of+a+car.+Unable+to+drive+before%2C+all+women+will+get+the+right+to+do+so+starting+June+24th%2C+2018.+
A Saudi woman sits behind the wheel of a car. Unable to drive before, all women will get the right to do so starting June 24th, 2018.

A Saudi woman sits behind the wheel of a car. Unable to drive before, all women will get the right to do so starting June 24th, 2018.

Photo by New York Times

Photo by New York Times

A Saudi woman sits behind the wheel of a car. Unable to drive before, all women will get the right to do so starting June 24th, 2018.

Alexis Olmstead, Print Editor-in-Chief

Saudi Arabia, an ultraconservative country located in the Middle East, has lifted the ban on women driving. The new policy will take effect in June of 2018, ending the longstanding repression of women who live under the Muslim Monarchy.

Leaders hope this will encourage economic growth by increasing the number of women in the workplace. Previously, several women were not able to work outside the home because of the fact that they had to be driven to work by a male counterpart or spend most of their salary on drivers. In addition to economic growth, relations with the international community look hopeful because of this western reform.

In November of last year, Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal expressed his objection to the policy declaring, “It’s time for women to drive.” Several citizens rejected his ideas, believing that in Saudi culture, it is inappropriate for women to take the wheel for it may lead to promiscuity and the collapse of the family unit.

However, momentum shifted with the rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a 32 year old leader committed to the reform of the Kingdom’s economy and political system.

For women everywhere, this is a step in the right direction. Saudi women will no longer be arrested for driving, providing greater economic, social, and political freedom. However, the fight for equality is far from over and many activists will continue to expand upon women’s rights.

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