Screenshot of video posted by Wajeha al-Huwaider driving along public streets in Saudi Arabia, which was illegal in 2008. (YouTube)

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

It’s a landmark day for women in Saudi Arabia, who will soon be sitting in the driver’s seat after the country’s historic driving ban is lifted.

In a matter of hours, the ban on women drivers will come to an end. Women will no longer have to pay for private male chauffeurs to get around.

Saudi Arabia remained the only country in the world to have such a ban until midnight GMT.

The change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman, about 25 years after women were arrested for driving in the central city of Riyadh in 1990.

On International Women’s Day in 2008, Wajeha al-Huwaider made international headlines when she posted a video driving alone as part of a social media campaign called Women2Drive.

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia to allow women to drive for the first time

What followed, was a culmination of years of activism by women in the ultra-conservative country.

Women were issued driver’s licenses earlier in June in preperation for the law’s amendment. Since then, many have been taking lessons to prepare for hitting the road alone.

This week, Amnesty International called the reversal of the ban a “testament to the bravery and determination” of women’s rights activists – some of whom remain detained.

“Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef are among eight activists still being detained in Saudi Arabia for their peaceful human rights work,” Amnesty International said in a news release.

“Some have been detained without charge for more than one month, and may face trial before the counter-terror court and up to 20 years in prison for their activism.”

The international rights group said the lifting off the ban “must now be followed by reforms to end a whole range of discriminatory laws and practices,” including ridding of the contentious guardianship system, which means women are unable to travel, engage in paid work or higher education, or marry without the permission of a male guardian.

The driving ban will be lifted at midnight in Saudi Arabia, or 2 p.m. PST.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Canadian Surf Team take on the Americas at Pan Am Games in Peru

270 athletes from 20 countries partake in Olympic 2020 qualifier.

VIDEO: Sea of Lights parade sparkles in Tofino

Tofino Resort and Marina’s Sea of Lights provided a breathtaking holiday experience on Friday night.

Winds of up to 90 km/hr predicted to hit Vancouver Island

Environment Canada is warning that loose objects may cause damage

Trapped humpback whale freed from salmon farm near Tofino

“All of these problems could be solved by the farms moving onto land and getting out of the ocean.”

Ucluelet police searching for missing man

Ucluelet police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating a missing 29-year-old.

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

B.C. billionaires worth 5,845 times average middle-income household

Economists argue for changes to Canadian tax system benefitting rich

Condominium market still ‘a lot better’ than normal in Vancouver suburbs

The Fraser Valley, east of Metro Vancouver, has long been considered a more affordable haven for first-time homebuyers.

Retired B.C. teacher a YouTube Sudoku sensation

A retired Kelowna teacher has amassed quite the following online by teaching the art of solving a Sudoku puzzle.

UN chief returns as climate talks teeter closer to collapse

Predictions from international climate expert, warn that global warming is set to do irreversible environmental damage.

Trump’s willingness to intervene in Meng detention roils Canada’s justification

The International Crisis Group said Tuesday, Dec. 11 it’s aware of reports that its North East Asia senior adviser Michael Kovrig has been detained.

Scientist awarded $100K for work on Arctic contaminants that led to ban

Derek Muir has received the $100,000 Weston Family Prize for his research that showed those carcinogens were able to move into the Arctic.

Manhunt continues for France shooter

Suspected gunman named, had long police record

‘Jurassic Park,’ ‘Shining’ added to National Film Registry

“These cinematic treasures must be protected because they document our history, culture, hopes and dreams.”

Most Read