King Salman issues Royal Decree to allow women to Drive in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia was the only country where women were not allowed to drive. They were not allowed to obtain a driving license in Saudi Arabia. They were able to buy a vehicle, register it on their name but were not able to drive it.

It has been reported that King Salman has issued a Royal Decree to allow women to obtain a driving license and hence drive in Saudi Arabia. Women Right groups had been campaigning for many decades for their right to drive. Some Saudi women have been fined and imprisoned for daring to get behind the wheel.

Despite the announcement, women will not be able to drive immediately. The kingdom has no infrastructure for women to learn to drive or to obtain drivers licenses. The police will need to be trained to interact with women in a way that they rarely do in a society where men and women who are not related rarely interact. 

The move was announced on television and also by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the royal decree mandating the establishment of a high-level committee involving the ministries of internal affairs, finance, labor and social development. They will be tasked with studying the arrangements to enforce the new law and report it within 30 days. The full implementation of the order will be done by June 2018. 

Although the Royal decree has been issued to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia still has to go a long distance to actually start issuing driving licenses to women. We believe that there are 7 Steps needed to start issuing driving licenses to women in Saudi Arabia.

The issue of women driving was a controversial thing in Saudi Arabia. Some said that it was inappropriate in Saudi culture for women to drive, or that male drivers would not know how to handle women in cars next to them. Others argued that allowing women to drive would lead to promiscuity and the collapse of the Saudi family

It is expected that removing the ban will further improve the image of Saudi Arabia in all around the world. Many of the Kingdom’s professionals and young people will welcome the change, viewing it as a step to making life in the country a bit more like life elsewhere.

The move was welcomed by the US state department which called it “a great step in the right direction”. The decree said that the move should “apply and adhere to the necessary Sharia standards“, but did not give details. The SPA report said a majority of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars had backed the idea.

Economic Impact:  As King Salman has allowed Saudi women to drive, 1 million jobs of expatriates are in danger. 800,000 domestic drivers out of total 1.4 million are expected to be terminated which will save SR 20.6 billion a year.

Overall, it is a saving of around SR 40 billion a year to the people of Saudi Arabia and Saudi government. In short, there are many reasons to believe that Saudi Economy will recover by allowing women to drive.

Marriage contracts in Saudi Arabia are expected to see an additional clause or demand included after women in the Kingdom were granted the right to drive. Currently, there are 3 clauses as a demand from women in the marriage contracts.

1-She will be provided with an independent house. In other words, she will not be staying with her in-laws.

2-She will be allowed to pursue her education up to the level of her satisfaction. It is important to mention here that Saudi Government provides free education to women.

3-She will be allowed to work if she wants to.

Latest Update: It has also been reported that the women with GCC and International driving license would also be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia.

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Steve has vast experience in writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures.