On Sunday, June 24, women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were finally able to drive legally after a long-standing ban was lifted by a royal decree in September last year.

As part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's wide-ranging drive to modernize the country, for the first time since 1957, female members of Saudi society have been granted their right to get behind the wheel.

Over the past 9 months, in preparation of this memorable day, special driving schools were set up, car showrooms were heaving with prospective female buyers, and events were being held in Riyadh to encourage new drivers.

The 32-year-old crown prince, who is heir to the throne, has spearheaded the Vision 2030 agenda to diversify the economy away from oil and open up Saudi society.

Part of his plan is to increase female workforce participation from 22 percent to 30 percent by 2030, and allowing them to drive will be a vital component of that.

Up until today, Saudi Arabia was the only country left in the world where women could not drive and families had to hire private drivers and chauffeurs for female relatives.

For nearly three decades, outspoken Saudi women and the men who supported them had called for women to be granted their right to drive.

In 1990, during the first driving campaign by activists, women who got behind the wheels of their cars in the capital city of Riyadh lost their jobs, faced severe stigmatization and were barred from travel abroad for a year.

Ultraconservatives in Saudi Arabia had long warned that allowing women to drive would lead to "sin and expose women to harassment".

"I'm really feeling so excited, super happy, overwhelmed with positive feelings and overjoyed. This means a lot to us as Saudi women," said Tahani Desmani, a resident in Riyadh who, up until now, had to rely on her husband to drive her to different places.

Here is how social media reacted to the incredible news:

A historic moment for every Saudi woman

"Cruising the streets of Qassim"

"One day I'll be proudly telling my kids about this historic day"

Women taking their first legal drive shortly after midnight


Saudi police officer were seen giving roses to new female drivers

"A drive-thru coffee run!"

"It’s a historic day"

Congratulations to all Saudi women!