Saudi Arabia has decided to overturn, however, there are still many problems in it.
Saudi Arabia is constantly growing in terms of their economy, however, at the same time, there are many things that would always keep them back. Their ideologies on women and there rights have been restricted for a long time now.
But on late Tuesday night, as per local time, the Saudi Arabia’s King Salman released a royal decree. According to this decree, women would now be able to drive, on their own.
This particular ban on the longstanding policy had become the global symbol of the oppression of women in Saudi Arabia. The royal decree was read live on state television, as well as, in a simultaneous media event in Washington, US.
As much as a win it is for the women in Saudi Arabia, the ban has also been overturned to improve the public relations of the state. This particular law was one huge public relations disaster on the state’s global reputation. Plus, the state is also expecting the women to contribute more to the economy by this overturning. There are many other monetary benefits of overturning this ban which was once pointed out by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in a tweet. He wrote, “Stop the debate… time for women to drive”. Along with this, he posted a link in which he explained all the monetary benefits of letting women drive on their own.
Not allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia has gone on to create a fully paid chauffeur class which composes of thousands of (largely foreign-born) drivers taking up funds that would otherwise be fuelled into the Saudi economy.
The change would not immediately come into effect. Women in Saudi Arabia would have to wait till July 2018, in order to make their driving license.
Saudi Arabia is known to be the home of Islam’s holiest sites, however, it is an absolute monarchy ruled according to the Sharia law. There are various Saudi officials who have given numerous explanations for the ban, over the years, and they are nothing short of ridiculous. While some say that it is considered inappropriate in Saudi culture for women to drive, others have contended that letting women drive would lead to promiscuity.
One cleric has even claimed that driving is harmful to women’s ovaries, without any evidence, whatsoever.
However, this is a huge change for Saudi Arabia and women living over there. The fight for overturning the law has been in process for a long time now. Some 47 women first came out in 1990 to protest against the law, by driving around the city of Riyadh. These women were immediately arrested and some even lost their jobs. The Saudi officials at that time even decided to publish some of the names of these women and their fathers or husbands in the newspapers, in an effort to name-shame them.
Saudi Arabia has a strong Guardianship law, according to which a woman can’t basically do anything without the permission from his father or husband or even son, primarily, any male guardian. Under this guardianship law, women cannot travel abroad, undergo some medical procedure or even work without the consent of their male “guardian”.
Slowly and steadily, Saudi Arabia is moving towards progress. In 2015, women were finally given the right to vote in Saudi Arabia. Even as per the new overturning of the ban, women would not have to take consent from their male guardian, in order to apply for their driver’s license. However, till the time this guardianship law is there, things would always be difficult for the Saudi women.