On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia announced it will allow women to drive, ending the long-standing policy that had been criticised by international campaigners and women’s groups.

The move was confirmed on state television and by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

The royal decree mandates the creation of a ministerial body to give advice on the practicalities of the order within 30 days and a full implementation of the order by June 2018.

The ruling order, which was signed off by King Salman, stated that the traffic laws would be amended in order to allow the government to issue driver’s licenses for men and women.

It has also been reported that the country's top clerical bodies agreed to the policy change as long as it was in accordance with Sharia Law. 

“The royal decree will implement the provisions of traffic regulations, including the issuance of driving licenses for men and women alike,” the Saudi Press Agency said.

“This is a great victory for many Saudi women. This was the one file and issue which Saudi women have fought not just years, but decades for,” Latifa Shaalan, a Saudi female member of the Shoura Council, told Al Arabiya.

Women won't need to get permission from a legal guardian

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States said all women holding licences from GCC nations would be allowed to drive in the country.

Prince Khalid Bin Salman Bin Abdul Aziz said the decision was not just a major social change but part of the country's economic reforms.

"I think our leadership understands our society is ready," Prince Khalid told Reuters.

He also added that women would not need to get permission from a legal guardian to get a license and would not need a guardian in the car when they drive.

This welcomed move comes after the head of religious fatwas in Saudi Arabia's Assir governorate said last week that a woman shouldn't be allowed to drive because "she has a quarter of a brain."

Also, several members of the Saudi royal family have, for years, been calling for reform and have been vocal advocates supporting a woman's right to drive.

Lasy year, two female members of the Saudi Shura Council proposed an amendment to the traffic laws to recognise women's right to drive in the kingdom.

Here is how social media reacted:


It matters!

A big day for woman in Saudi Arabia!

"Muslim women around the world drive and surprise, we're still Muslim."

"You really deserve this."