As of 24th June 2018, women will be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia
for the first time, opening the flood gates for driving license applications from women and crucially also enabling women to rent cars in Saudi Arabia.
The longstanding law imposed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia prohibited women from driving in Saudi Arabia, if a woman wanted to travel by car anywhere in the kingdom they have to be driven by a man. The only country on the planet that banned women from driving has bowed to international pressure and women’s rights groups and will lift the ban from 24th June 2018 which promises to be a significant milestone in the nations history. Not only will the lifting of the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia enable Saudi Women to drive legally on the roads, it will also open up opportunities for women to hire cars in Saudi Arabia.
First Women’s Driving Licences Issued on June 4th 2018
Whilst the ban will not be officially lifted until June 24th, the first ever driving licenses were issued to women on Monday 4th June 2018, where 10 licenses were issued following a brief practical test and eye examination. It’s understood that all those women issued with driving licenses in Saudi Arabia already had driving licences issued from other countries so their competency to drive was not in question, rather just the legal status.
5 Things Women in Saudi Arabia Still Can’t do
Whilst lifting the driving ban for women in Saudi Arabia is being hailed as turning point in the Kingdoms history, there are still many things than women are not allowed to do and will no doubt soon be the focus of women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia.
- Make Major Decisions – Saudi Arabia’s ‘guardianship’ system prevents women making ‘major’ decisions, women in Saudi Arabia still have a ‘wali’ – a male guardian who will make decisions on their behalf (often a husband, father or brother)
- Clothes / Make-up – Women in Saudi are prohibited from wearing clothes or make-up that ‘show off their beauty’, a strict dress code imposed by Islamic Law.
- Swim in Public – Women are now allowed to swim in public swimming pools
- Interact with Men – Limit to amount of interaction with non-related men
- Try On Clothes in Shops – A big no-no, women are not allowed to ‘disrobe’ in a shop to try on any clothes before buying. But they do have a great returns policy.